The New York Times
It's a Secret!by John Burningham
Every night Marie-Elaine’s cat, Malcolm, goes out, and every morning he comes back in and sleeps. "Where do cats go at night?" the girl wonders. So when she sees him at his cat door/b>
What if you were as small as your cat — and took off with him on a nighttime adventure? A gorgeously illustrated tale from the award-winning John Burningham.
Every night Marie-Elaine’s cat, Malcolm, goes out, and every morning he comes back in and sleeps. "Where do cats go at night?" the girl wonders. So when she sees him at his cat door dressed to the nines, she begs to come along. And amazingly, Malcolm agrees — as long as she puts on her fancy clothes, gets small, and keeps it all a secret. With a whimsical story and breathtaking artwork, the acclaimed John Burningham takes us on an exciting night’s journey, braving hoodlum dogs and precarious climbs for a rooftop party that is cause for celebration indeed.
The New York Times
Burningham (Harvey Slumfenburger's Christmas Present) treats readers to a whimsical nighttime romp. Marie Elaine wonders where her cat goes when he slips outside at night-and one evening she finds out. When she discovers him wearing a stylish crimson jacket and a brimmed hat and plume, the cat admits he's going to a party, "but I can't say where because it's a secret." Promising to keep his secret, the child begs to go along and he agrees. Obediently, she dons party clothes and shrinks to his size when instructed to "get small." Neighbor Norman spies them sneaking out from his window ("Let me come... or I'll tell") and the three navigate their way past threatening dogs (one wearing a pink hooded sweatshirt) to reach the urban rooftop party. A mix of pastel-infused sketches and bold images in robust hues, the buoyant mixed-media art reveals the gala in full swing. Costumed cats dance and dine before a brilliant scarlet sky signals the breaking dawn and the revelers head home. The plainspoken, childlike narration makes this dreamlike tale all the more approachable. Ages 3-6. (June)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Marie Elaine wonders what her cat, Malcolm, does at night that causes him to sleep all day. When she goes down to the kitchen late one night and finds him all dressed up to go out, she asks to come along. He agrees as long as she "gets small," and he takes her and her neighbor Norman to a secret cat party on the rooftops, where they dance, feast, and meet the queen of the cats. Burningham's signature sketchy mixed-media illustrations are a good fit for the dreamlike story, as is the off-kilter logic of the text ("Marie Elaine got small, and they went out of the house through the cat door"). The artist uses color to great effect; when the child is in her normal daytime world, the illustrations feature little background information, but the rooftop world of the cat's party is awash in color and fanciful detail. This simple fantasy captures the pleasant feel of a dream, but without providing a strong emotional connection to the characters, it is likely to be as easily forgotten upon waking.-Kathleen Kelly MacMillan, Carroll County Public Library, MD
Meet the Author
John Burningham, a two-time winner of the Kate Greenaway Medal, is the authorillustrator of numerous picture books, including HARVEY SLUMFENBURGER'S CHRISTMAS PRESENT. He lives in London.
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