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From the Publisher—School Library Journal, Starred Review, January 1994
A cool, saxophone-playing cat from the sticks heads for the bright lights of the big city to find fame and fortune. Oobie-do John gets his first gig at Minnie's Can Do, a jumping joint that's long on jazz, but short on cash. To earn a living, he has to be a short-order cook at the Doggie Diner and play his horn for pennies at the town tourist traps, but he never skips a beat. Finally, Oobie-do's music begins to be the talk of the jazz scene, and that hip feline becomes the coolest cat of all. Here is a one-of-a-kind book with a great message—it encourages youngsters to do what they love, and to work at it to the best of their ability. Hubbard's vivid illustrations sparkle like the paintings of Matisse and offer just the right accompaniment to the jazzy text, which jumps across the pages and takes an occasional twist. Pre-readers may miss some of the subtlety here, but the fresh music of the narrative makes a terrific read-aloud. It will work just as well with older children because of its sassy style. Just pop in a cassette by Dizzy or Miles, and read, man, read.
—PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, Starred Review, August 16, 1993
Only squares won't dig the beatnik slang and improvisational rhymes of this beboppable, unstoppable tale. Sax-playing cat Oobie-do takes the train to San Francisco, where he tries to "make jazzzzzy music." But being a musician doesn't pay the bills, and Oobie-do becomes a short-order cook at the Doggie Diner. He doesn't stay down on his luck for long, though; Minnie, impecunious owner of Minnie's Can Do nightclub, encourages him to play a gig, and pretty soon the joint jumps to Oobie-do's tunes. London, striking a very different note here than in A Koala for Katie and creates vibrant spreads that ideally complement the narrative; their unsullied bright colors, smooth edges and serpentine forms are reminiscent of such jazz-inspired abstract canvases as Stuart Davis's The Mellow Pad. Playful and optimistic, this story of dreams—and persistence rewarded—is the cool cat's meow. Ages 3-8.
—HORN BOOK, April 1994
Illustrated by Woodleigh Hubbard. Hip Cat plays the saxophone in San Francisco. At first rejected by the big clubs which are owned by dogs, he keeps practicing and playing until he is in demand all over town. The book's message—"do what you love to do, and do it well!"—receives the most convincing and least didactic treatment possible. The rhyming text is peppered with jazz slang, internal rhymes, and unexpected meter shifts reminiscent of jazz licks; the busy paintings feature bright colors, strong shapes, and repeated patterns as well as lots of cat, dog, and jazz humor.
Here is a one-of-a-kind book with a great message—it encourages youngsters to do what they love, and to work at it to the best of their ability. School Library Journal