Where Is Little Reynard?

Overview

Mama cat has seven kittens. Little Reynard is the smallest, and his brothers and sisters tease him about his size and his orange color. Because he is so small and timid, the little girl, Lily, takes special care of Little Reynard. She gives him his own bowl and even lets him sleep on her pillow, yet sometimes he still feels he doesn't really belong. Then one cold winter day Little Reynard peers out of an open window and sees two young foxes that look very much like him, and when...
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Overview

Mama cat has seven kittens. Little Reynard is the smallest, and his brothers and sisters tease him about his size and his orange color. Because he is so small and timid, the little girl, Lily, takes special care of Little Reynard. She gives him his own bowl and even lets him sleep on her pillow, yet sometimes he still feels he doesn't really belong. Then one cold winter day Little Reynard peers out of an open window and sees two young foxes that look very much like him, and when the foxes invite him to join them, Little Reynard says yes!

In their second picture-book collaboration, following come meet muffin!, acclaimed author Joyce Carol Oates and artist Mark Graham introduce an irresistible feline character who will make himself at home in your heart.

When Little Reynard, the only orange kitten in his litter, meets some foxes, he feels more at home with them than with his own family.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Where Is Little Reynard? by Joyce Carol Oates, illus. by Mark Graham, stars Lily and the Smith family from their Come Meet Muffin!, plus the orange runt of a litter of kittens. Little Reynard is the odd furball out ("His sisters laughed at his unusual color. And his brothers teased him because he was so small. This made him shy"). But when he spies a family of foxes, he is emboldened by the fact that the cubs share his burnt-orange coloring, the kitten is soon scampering through the forest with his new friends. (Sept.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
The mother cat in this tale had seven kittens and the runt of the litter was Little Reynard. Lily did not mind, since she loved all of the kittens, but Reynard was her favorite. He was the bunt of teasing by his larger brothers and sisters, but he had Lily to look out for him and make sure that he got enough food to eat and a special place to sleep. Intrigued when he sees a fox with fur the same orange color as he, Little Reynard ventured out into the snow where he finds fox cubs to play with. They had a great time, but back home there was considerable consternation as Lily, mama cat and the other kittens looked for Little Reynard. Upon his return, he is welcomed as a prodigal son and with new found confidence he began to play with his brothers and sisters. Somehow, the story just does not quite hang together. The illustrations however are pure delight. The kittens, the outdoor scenes, and pictures of Lily are a pleasure to look at. They really make this picture book. 2003, HarperCollins, Ages 4 to 8.
—Marilyn Courtot
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1-Graham's rich paintings are a mismatch with Oates's predictable story told in trite, patronizing language. Little Reynard is the smallest and only orange one of seven kittens. He is shy and awkward and feels he doesn't fit in with his siblings, though Lily, his owner, dotes on him. One snowy day, he sees some foxes through an open window and joins them for a fun afternoon, returning home with newfound confidence to find that he has been missed. The story is implausible on a number of fronts, including foxes befriending kittens, kittens playing in snow, and the idea that this shy character would suddenly open up to a stranger. The personification of the cats fights with the perfect realism of the paintings, and it's not clear if the story is about Lily or little Reynard. Oates tries to do too much, and thus prevents the text from flowing smoothly. Graham's painterly illustrations are quite lovely, capturing the kittens' joy of motion, and the love of the mother cat when she washes her wayward kitten. Libraries with big fans of Oates may get requests for this book, but others can stick with the many wonderful cat books available.-Amy Lilien-Harper, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Proving that facility with words does not necessarily stretch to meet all audiences, master novelist Oates proffers a clunky, sentimental tale of a shy little kitten who finds bravery. Little Reynard is the smallest and orangest of Momma's kittens and becomes Lily's favorite. His more forceful brothers and sisters brush him aside until one night when he plays with some foxes, a peculiarly transformative experience. Punctuated by no fewer than 17 exclamation points, the text is full of breathless authorial intrusions that seem more suited to children's books of the early half of the last century: "They had missed him so!" Graham's lavish, full-bleed illustrations are every bit as sentimental as the text, in a perfect and highly unfortunate match of pictures and words. It is nothing short of amazing that so acute a stylist for adults and young adults can produce such a patronizing text-many readers may find themselves wishing that little Rusty and Flora Fox had behaved like proper foxes and snacked upon Little Reynard instead of playing with him. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060295837
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/29/2003
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.40 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.37 (d)

Meet the Author

Joyce Carol Oates is a recipient of the National Medal of Humanities, the National Book Critics Circle Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, the Chicago Tribune Lifetime Achievement Award, the National Book Award, and the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction, and has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. She has written some of the most enduring fiction of our time, including the national bestsellers We Were the Mulvaneys, Blonde, which was nominated for the National Book Award, and the New York Times bestseller The Falls, which won the 2005 Prix Femina. She is the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University and has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1978.

Mark Graham is the illustrator of several children's books, including Come Meet Muffin! and Where is Little Reynard? by Joyce Carol Oates. A graduate of Columbia University, Graham studied for several years at the Art Students League of New York and has taught at the university level. He lives with his family in Port Washington, New York.

Biography

Joyce Carol Oates is one of the most influential and important storytellers in the literary world. She has often used her supreme narrative skills to examine the dark side of middle-class Americana, and her oeuvre includes some of the finest examples of modern essays, plays, criticism, and fiction from a vast array of genres. She is still publishing with a speed and consistency of quality nearly unheard of in contemporary literature.

A born storyteller, Oates has been spinning yarns since she was a little girl too young to even write. Instead, she would communicate her stories through drawings and paintings. When she received her very first typewriter at the age of 14, her creative floodgates opened with a torrent. She says she wrote "novel after novel" throughout high school and college -- a prolificacy that has continued unabated throughout a professional career that began in 1963 with her first short story collection, By the North Gate.

Oates's breakthrough occurred in 1969 with the publication of them, a National Book Award winner that established her as a force to be reckoned with. Since that auspicious beginning, she has been nominated for nearly every major literary honor -- from the PEN/Faulkner Award to the Pulitzer Prize -- and her fiction turns up with regularity on The New York Times annual list of Notable Books.

On average Oates publishes at least one novel, essay anthology, or story collection a year (during the 1970s, she produced at the astonishing rate of two or three books a year!). And although her fiction often exposes the darker side of America's brightest facades – familial unrest, sexual violence, the death of innocence – she has also made successful forays into Gothic novels, suspense, fantasy, and children's literature. As novelist John Barth once remarked, "Joyce Carol Oates writes all over the aesthetical map."

Where she finds the time for it no one knows, but Oates manages to combine her ambitious, prolific writing career with teaching: first at the University of Windsor in Canada, then (from 1978 on), at Princeton University in New Jersey. For all her success and fame, her daily routine of teaching and writing has changed very little, and her commitment to literature as a transcendent human activity remains steadfast.

Good To Know

When not writing, Oates likes to take in a fight. "Boxing is a celebration of the lost religion of masculinity all the more trenchant for its being lost," she says in highbrow fashion of the lowbrow sport.

Oates's Black Water, which is a thinly veiled account of Ted Kennedy's car crash in Chappaquiddick, was produced as an opera in the 1990s.

In 2001, Oprah Winfrey selected Oates's novel We Were the Mulvaneys for her Book Club.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Rosamond Smith
    2. Hometown:
      Princeton, New Jersey
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 16, 1938
    2. Place of Birth:
      Lockport, New York
    1. Education:
      B.A., Syracuse University, 1960; M.A., University of Wisconsin, 1961

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