From the Publisher
Praise for Just Like Heaven:"
McDonnell delivers his message with maximum effectiveness."Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Praise for Mutts:
*National Cartoonist Society Reuben Award for Cartoonist of the Year 1999
*National Cartoonist Society Reuben Award for Comic Strip of the Year 1997
*Harvey Award for Best Comic Strip 1997, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003
*PETA Humanitarian Award 2001
Praise for The Gift of Nothing:"
Both Mutts fans and newcomers will appreciate McDonnell's clever wordplay and lovable characters."Publishers Weekly (starred review)
McDonnell (The Gift of Nothing) continues a winning run of books about friendship starring the clown-nosed cat Mooch. Abandoning dialogue and experimenting with ink-wash sketches, McDonnell introduces a bird whose flock has flown south without him. Scene after scene delivers an emotional wallop as the bird realizes with a shock that his friends have departed (petite drops of sweat leap off his head), collapses in tears (the words "weep weep weep" appear above him), then gazes in amazement at Mooch's extended paw, a wordless offer to take him to his friends. This small-format book is as neatly paced as a Chaplin movie, with the same tugging at the heartstrings and silent humor. Ages 3-6. (Sept.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
A bird singing on a branch with only one leaf introduces this heart-warming, almost wordless story. Many other birds leave the tree. The single bird is awakened from a nap by the falling leaf, only to find itself alone. Mooch, McDonnell's delightful cat character, takes it upon himself to lead the weeping bird through streets, woods and even snow. After a long trek, they hear singing. On an electrical or telephone wire sits a chorus of other welcoming birds. Mooch and the bird hug farewell. Then they all fly away, leaving Mooch with a song and the satisfaction, when back home, of a good deed. Shades of gray paint affectionately applied define character while washes of color add contextual interest: clumps of brown grass, sweeps of blue sky, red for Mooch's nose, etc. The visual tale is enhanced by musical notes and some sleepy Zz's rather than redundant words. The gentle story delivers pleasant emotions along with a positive message. Check out the contrasting jacket and cover. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
McDonnell has composed another quiet gem. Literally. The sole sounds are birdsong, weeping, and snoring; the only words appear on signs: "South" and "Walk." The season is fall, and the chorus comes from a flock perched in a nearly bare tree. In the next instant, the birds lift off, and, as the pages turn, the last leaf drops, bonking a slumbering bird on the head at the base of the tree. Anyone who has every experienced the thought of being abandoned or feeling lost will relate to the utterly convincing panic conveyed in the artist's expressive watercolors and emotive lines as it dawns on this tiny creature that he has been left behind. Yet, he is not alone. Enter Mooch, the feline protagonist from the artist's comic strip "Mutts." He offers a hand, leading and carrying his young charge through rural and urban landscapes, until the birds are joyfully reunited. McDonnell's comfort with unfilled expanses, his beautifully balanced compositions, and the nature of his brushwork evoke the feel of traditional Chinese art. Tan recycled paper provides warmth in keeping with this tender, compact story. While it will be enjoyed universally, be sure to place it where nonreaders will find it, and remember it when asked for a Good Samaritan story. Its subtle sweetness is a rare and wonderful thing.-Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library