Minifred Goes to School

( 2 )

Overview

Rules are made to be broken,

Especially for Minifred. But if she wants to go to school, she'll have to behave, right? Maybe not, because Minifred isn't a regular child—she's a kitten! In this playful picture book from Caldecott Medalist Mordicai Gerstein, Minifred makes her own rules about how to have fun.

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Overview

Rules are made to be broken,

Especially for Minifred. But if she wants to go to school, she'll have to behave, right? Maybe not, because Minifred isn't a regular child—she's a kitten! In this playful picture book from Caldecott Medalist Mordicai Gerstein, Minifred makes her own rules about how to have fun.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this odd tale, a couple raises their pet kitten, Minifred, like a spoiled child, then unleashes her on an unsuspecting school. “I don't obey anything,” announces Minifred, “especially not rules!” Pretty soon, her classmates are wondering why they can't misbehave, too—but of course, they're not kittens. Caldecott Medalist Gerstein's sense of color and framing is faultless as he tries to establish Minifred as the antiheroine of a kooky, alternative universe reminiscent of Louis Sachar's Wayside School books. But the petulant, pinafore-wearing kitten remains more irritating than rabble-rousing. Ages 3–8. (July)
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Although they have been wanting a baby, Mr. and Mrs. Porthy are delighted to discover a kitten under the sofa cushions. They name her Minifred and treat her just as if she were a real child. At five months, she walks on her hind legs. At six months, she begins to talk. She does not, however, like to follow the rules. When she is determined to go to school, her teacher is not pleased by her behavior. When she tries to send Minifred home, Minifred runs right into the principal's lap. Still refusing to obey the rules, she climbs atop the school weathervane. Called to school, her parents discover that the rules there have an exception for kittens. So, Minifred becomes an excellent student—although she still does what she likes. Any cat lover knows that cats do what they like, and of course, the humorous Minifred is a fantasy creation. But we wonder what message this story sends to young readers about rules. As drawn here, Minifred is a convincing anthropomorphic young feline but with gestures and expressions common to youngsters. Gerstein delights us with his pictures of her merry chases. His sketchy illustrations on white backgrounds are filled with details. His action vignettes command attention in full and double-page depictions of his unusual heroine. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Kirkus Reviews
When Mr. Portly finds a tiny orange kitten behind the sofa while vacuuming, he and Mrs. Portly raise her as the baby they've always wanted. They "treated Minifred just like a child, and so she behaved like one. She did not like rules." A precocious thing, she walks at five months and talks at six, and pretty soon the pink-frocked kitten starts school-where she's just as bad at obeying rules as she is at home. Gerstein milks the absurdity for all it's worth, vigorous linework and vivid colors lending zing to Minifred's shenanigans. Her keen green eyes find one rule she can follow, leading to a resolution that will satisfy kittens everywhere-if not their parents and teachers. (Picture book. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060758899
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/23/2009
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.80 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Mordicai Gerstein

Mordicai Gerstein is the author and illustrator of many beloved books for children. He won the 2004 Caldecott Medal for The Man Who Walked Between the Towers and is also a painter, sculptor, and prizewinning designer and director of animated films. Mordicai Gerstein lives in western Massachusetts with his wife, Susan Yard Harris, who is also an illustrator, and their daughter, Risa.

Mordicai Gerstein is the author and illustrator of many beloved books for children. He won the 2004 Caldecott Medal for The Man Who Walked Between the Towers and is also a painter, sculptor, and prizewinning designer and director of animated films. Mordicai Gerstein lives in western Massachusetts with his wife, Susan Yard Harris, who is also an illustrator, and their daughter, Risa.

Biography

Mordicai Gerstein has always been an artist. As a child, he enjoyed painting and eventually graduated from art school in Los Angeles. He continued painting in New York City and supported himself and his family for 25 years by designing and directing animated television commercials. He says, "I had always loved cartoons, especially Bugs Bunny, and I found I enjoyed making animated films. Even a 30-second commercial involved drawing and painting, storytelling, not to mention actors, music, and sound effects."

During the 1960s, Gerstein made several films that received critical acclaim. In 1966, The Room won the Award of the Film Clubs of France at the International Festival for Experimental Film, and in 1968, The Magic Ring won a CINE Golden Eagle.

His career took a dramatic turn when he met children's author Elizabeth Levy in 1970. He has illustrated her Something Queer Is Going On chapter books ever since, and it was Levy and her editor who encouraged Gerstein to write a book on his own. His debut came in 1983 with Arnold of the Ducks, the story of a young boy who gets lost in the wild and is raised by ducks. The New York Times hailed Gerstein's freshman effort as one of the year's best children's books, and he went on to write two more volumes exploring the theme of feral childhood. In 1998 he released The Wild Boy, a picture book based on the true story of a young 18th-century French boy who was found living in the woods and was put on display as an oddity, only to escape and be captured again years later. That same year, Gerstein released Victor, a young adult novel about the same boy.

Gerstein tells the story is of a Tibetan woodcutter who is given a choice between reincarnation or heaven in The Mountains of Tibet, which received the distinction of being one of 1987's ten best illustrated books of the year, according to The New York Times. Although the book is written for kids around age seven, Gerstein approaches the subject of death with a bold, sensitive plot and elegant illustrations. Spirituality is a major theme in many of Gerstein's books. He has interpreted tales from the Bible in Jonah and the Two Great Fish (1997), Noah and the Great Flood (1999), and Queen Esther the Morning Star (2001). Other titles such as The Seal Mother (1986), The Story of May (1993), and The Shadow of a Flying Bird (1994) also express Gerstein's reverential awe for the world.

Young readers can also stretch their imaginations with Gerstein's more playful books. Vocabulary is fun in The Absolutely Awful Alphabet (1999), where the letter P is actually a particularly putrid predator! Bedtime Everybody! (1996) has a young girl's stuffed animals planning a bedtime picnic. Behind the Couch (1996) takes readers on an exciting caper into an unknown world of grazing dust balls, Lost Coin Hill and the Valley of the Stuffed Animals. In Stop Those Pants (1998), a boy is forced to play hide-and-seek with his clothes as he gets ready for the day. Gerstein pays tribute to American composer Charles Ives in What Charlie Heard (2002), the story of a boy's unique talent for interpreting all the sounds of daily life.

Another biographical picture book, The Man Who Walked Between the Towers (2003) tells the story of Philippe Petit, the daredevil who walked across a tightrope suspended between New York City's World Trade Center towers in 1974. The book won the Caldecott Medal in 2004, and parents have praised the book as an invaluable tool for talking to their children about the events of 9/11.

Many of Gerstein's children's books are destined to be classics. His style of writing and illustration brings each of his stories to life, shows a passion for adventure, and relishes the joy that comes from understanding the mysteries of the world.

Good To Know

Despite a successful career illustrating children's books, the first book Gerstein wrote, Arnold of the Ducks, was turned down by seven publishers. Eventually, The New York Times called it one of the best children's books of the year.

Gerstein was inspired to write The Mountains of Tibet after reading The Tibetan Book of the Dead.

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    1. Hometown:
      Northhampton, Massachusetts
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 25, 1935
    2. Place of Birth:
      Los Angeles, California
    1. Education:
      Chouinard Institute of Art
    2. Website:

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  • Posted June 13, 2014

    I laughed out loud.

    I laughed out loud.

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    Posted August 14, 2010

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