Just Like Heaven

( 1 )

Overview

Patrick McDonnell's hypnotic picture book featuring the stars of his Mutts comic strip is a captivating ode to everyday beauty and wonder.When Mooch the cat awakes to find himself lost in a deep fog, he concludes he's in heaven. 'Wow,' he remarks as he explores. 'What a great place.' But when Mooch comes face-to-face in heaven with a big and scary dog, what, he wonders, is he supposed to do? Mooch's reassuring answer reveals that the joys of nature, home and friends are blessings to appreciate here and now. ...

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Overview

Patrick McDonnell's hypnotic picture book featuring the stars of his Mutts comic strip is a captivating ode to everyday beauty and wonder.When Mooch the cat awakes to find himself lost in a deep fog, he concludes he's in heaven. 'Wow,' he remarks as he explores. 'What a great place.' But when Mooch comes face-to-face in heaven with a big and scary dog, what, he wonders, is he supposed to do? Mooch's reassuring answer reveals that the joys of nature, home and friends are blessings to appreciate here and now. Heaven really is a place on earth!

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In a follow-up to The Gift of Nothing, McDonnell brings back the stars of his Mutts comic strip for a meditation on the true nature of miracles. Mooch wakes from a nap and mistakes a thick fog for Paradise: "I must be in heaven!" he decides. "Wow.... What a great place." He walks about, admiring all of its wonders. Then he meets a growling bulldog at the end of a short chain. "In the past, Mooch would have gone all fuzzy with fear and run away." But, the feline wonders, "What would you do in heaven?... Hug Time!" The bulldog's angry expression softens as he hugs Mooch back, and they wave animatedly to one another as Mooch departs. Eventually, falling asleep again, Mooch wakes up in the real world (the fog has lifted), which turns out to be "Just like heaven." The palette, composed only of a fine black line and some bursts of blue-gray and touches of red (for Mooch's nose, the bulldog's collar) bursts into glorious full-color on the final spread. If one could cast the scales from one's eyes, Mooch demonstrates, the world really is heaven on earth. By limiting his palette, sticking to a clean layout (a line of text on top of each page, a picture beneath) and one story line with no digression, McDonnell delivers his message with maximum effectiveness. Ages 4-8. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz
As Mooch the cat takes a cat-nap under his favorite tree, fog surrounds him, so when he wakes up he can see nothing, but nothing. Wondering where he is, he decides it must be heaven. As he explores, he smells the sweet perfume of flowers, hears birds singing, and decides that heaven is a great place. It seems to have happy children, friendly neighbors, people he loves. When he encounters a growling but chained dog, since it is heaven he does not run but calls for "Hug Time!" instead and gets a hug in return. Back at his tree, Mooch takes another nap. When he wakes up to sunshine and his best friend, he decides he is in a great place now, "Just like heaven." The brief, simply told story offers a delightful hero, an up-beat message, and food for further thought. The gentle, visual tale is told in the most minimal of illustrations. On each page a sketchy Mooch is shown wandering through a grayish fog with a few squiggly trees and the occasional addition of a bird, flowers, and the growling dog who offers the climactic hug. Bits of color reinforce the final double-page heavenly message. The author's comic strip Mutts features the characters in this book and his previous, The Gift of Nothing.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-Mooch and Earl, a cat and dog from the "Mutts" comic strip, star in a follow-up picture book to The Gift of Nothing (Little, Brown, 2005). In this more serious story, a fog creeps in one day during Mooch's nap. Waking in this haze, he hears birds singing and children laughing, he smells the perfume of flowers, but he sees nothing. Surmising that he is in heaven, he checks his fear and gives a large and scary dog he encounters a hug. Later, he returns to his napping spot and falls back asleep. When the fog lifts, Mooch finds the sun shining and his friend Earl beside him. He thinks he is in a wonderful place-"Just like heaven." The small, sketchy illustrations hold a great deal of charm, and the sparse, controlled text keeps the story punchy and moving along. However, this tale lacks the humor of the first title. An additional purchase for libraries with "Mutts" fans.--Julie Roach, Cambridge Public Library, MA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Following his Art (April 2006), cartoonist McDonnell returns to his Mutts characters to tackle another weighty topic with just the right touch. As Mooch the cat falls asleep under his favorite tree, a fog rolls in. When he awakes, he decides he must be in heaven: He smells sweet perfume (wildflowers covered by fog) and hears children's laughter (kids playing in the park, obscured by the fog). He even comes upon a big angry dog, who would usually send him running in fear, but Mooch gives him a hug and the two part as friends. Mooch ends up at his favorite tree and falls back asleep. The fog clears and he wakes up. His best friend Earl the dog is asleep next to him; the sun shines on the neighborhood. Mooch thinks it's a great place, just like heaven. Perfect for storytime for small groups or one in a lap or as a gift to your favorite curmudgeon, this gentle lesson should find a place in most collections. (Picture book. 3-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316114936
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 10/4/2006
  • Pages: 44
  • Sales rank: 197,379
  • Age range: 5 - 6 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 7.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Patrick McDonnell

Patrick McDonnell is the creator of the Mutts comic strip, which recently celebrated its tenth anniversary. He has illustrated for the New York Times, Sports Illustrated, Reader's Digest, Time, Parents, and other journals, done CD covers for the Greatest Hit classical music series, and created a license plate for his home state of New Jersey. Hailed as "the next Charles Schulz," Patrick sits on the board of directors of the Humane Society of the United States, and has won numerous awards for both Mutts and his animal welfare work. He is the author of The Gift of Nothing and Art (LBYR), his first children's books, and the co-author of Krazy Kat: The Comic Art of George Herriman. He also contributed a story to Little Lit: It Was a Dark and Silly Night, edited by Art Spiegelman and Fran├žoise Mouly (HarperCollins, 2003).

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