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Caramba and Henry
     

Caramba and Henry

by Marie-Louise Gay (Illustrator)
 

Caramba’s little brother Henry is a nightmare. He won’t share anything, he squishes Caramba’s favorite caterpillars, and he screams all the time. But the very worst thing about Henry is that he is learning how to fly — much to Caramba’s dismay. Caramba can’t keep up with Henry who, as he learns to fly, gets into all sorts of

Overview

Caramba’s little brother Henry is a nightmare. He won’t share anything, he squishes Caramba’s favorite caterpillars, and he screams all the time. But the very worst thing about Henry is that he is learning how to fly — much to Caramba’s dismay. Caramba can’t keep up with Henry who, as he learns to fly, gets into all sorts of trouble. Caramba tries to protect his little brother, but it only makes Henry unhappy. Finally Caramba ties a string around Henry’s waist and lets him soar like a kite. One day Henry breaks free. It’s dark and the moon is rising when Caramba and his friend Portia finally find him clinging to a tree branch. And when Caramba manages to talk him down, a very relieved Henry purrs his first word: “Car-r-r-amba.” True to form, Marie-Louise Gay’s new Caramba story is straight from the heart of a young child.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In his second adventure, Caramba, a zebra-striped cat who lives in a world where cats can fly, has always wanted a brother—but not the one he gets. Henry screams and cries all of the time and, unlike Caramba, Henry isn't having any trouble flying. To Caramba's chagrin, his mother puts him in charge of making sure Henry's fledgling flights don't end in disaster, but when Caramba attaches Henry to the end of a string, like a kite, Henry comes loose and flies off, requiring rescue. Gay's watercolors, laced with feathery pencil lines, bring warmth to this fresh spin on a story about learning how to be an older sibling. Ages 2–5. (Aug.)
From the Publisher
Toronto Public Library First and Best Booklist, 2011

"Gay puts many delightful quirks into a highly recognizable tale of sibling rivalry, and her singular illustrations–a delicate mix of watercolor, pencil, pastels and acrylics—are unique and captivating." —Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

"… a heartwarming tale of love and bravery …" —School Library Journal

"…[a] fresh spin on a story about learning how to be an older sibling." —Publisher's Weekly

Children's Literature - Barbara L. Talcroft
"To everyone who has seen a flying cat or two," is how Canadian author/illustrator Gay dedicates her newest book starring Caramba, the only cat in the world (or at least Canada) who cannot fly. Round, striped Caramba loves caterpillars, cheese omelets, and fishing—he has been hoping for a brother to share his secrets. But baby brother Henry's a little terror who squashes caterpillars, howls and screams, and is learning to fly. What a disappointment! When their mother entrusts Henry to his big brother's care, a despairing Caramba and his piggy friend Portia set off for a walk with Henry and the adventures begin. Baby Henry bumps into everything, cannot stand being carried, but obviously needs to fly, so Caramba ties him up like a balloon and sends him aloft, only for Henry to wriggle free and sail off into the sky. From here on, Caramba and Portia pole a raft, hunting for Henry on a lovely stream through a marsh where they encounter creatures like dragonflies, egrets, turtles, frogs, and, when darkness descends, flitting bats. As the moon comes up, they spot Henry stranded in a tall tree, from which Caramba coaxes Henry in a touching reunion made more poignant by Gay's simile that Henry "whirled his tail like a tiny egg-beater." Her last image—Henry and Caramba hugging while their tails form swirls like embracing parentheses—is perfect. This whimsical world of flying cats appeals with its many enchanting details in delicate pencil, while deft watercolors washed in delicious blues and greens are accented with vermilion, egg-yolk yellow, and a foxy orange-gold. Award-winner Gay's sweet tale of two brothers will amuse and satisfy siblings and parents alike. Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—Caramba bemoans the birth of his little brother in this sequel to Caramba (Groundwood, 2005). He at least thought that Henry would be like him, an oddball, a non-flyer, not like all the rest of the cats that fly. A bit of jealousy sets in with scenes of a pensive Caramba peering off a cliff, his dream of having, "A brother to collect caterpillars with./A brother who would love his cheese omelets" no longer viable. Reality hits when he rides his bike back home to the howling, screaming, yelling Henry hurling his cheese omelet, who is now learning to fly. His friend Portia tries to help. His mother, sympathetic but undaunted in her attempts at creating a bond between the two, asks Caramba to look after Henry as he is learning to fly, a dangerous venture for the felines in this fantastic, seaside world. After many attempts indoors and out, they go for a walk and practice flying with Henry attached to a line, like a kite. But with his wiggles and tugs, he slips away into the twilight sky. In the gentle but cinematic, whimsical, and expressive watercolor and pastel paintings, children venture along a heroic rescue and a change of heart. Told with poetic economy and fantastic details like, "He whirled his tail like a tiny egg-beater," this is a heartwarming tale of love and bravery prevailing over the slippery slope into sibling rivalry.—Sara Lissa Paulson, American Sign Language and English Lower School PS 347, New York City
Kirkus Reviews

Little brothers can be soooo bothersome.

Kitten Caramba had wished for a brother for a long time, but not one like Henry. Henry squishes Caramba's favorite caterpillars, throws his cheese omelets out the window and screams all the time. Caramba's best friend, a pig named Portia, suggests that Caramba teach Henry how to purr,but Caramba rejects this plan; only contended cats purr. And then Henry starts flying! Caramba wanted to teach him to swim, but why would he want to swim when he can fly? As Henry is flying all around, mother puts Caramba in charge. Henry keeps getting tangled in clotheslines and scarves and suchlike. Neither butterfly net nor shopping bag is a good carrier. Then Caramba gets a brilliant idea (even Portia thinks so): She pulls Henry along like a balloon. This works well, until Henry wriggles free and flies away. Caramba and Portia search into the dark night and find him clinging to a small branch at the top of a tall tree. Caramba talks him down, and Henry utters his very first word: "Car-r-r-amba." Gay puts many delightful quirks into a highly recognizable tale of sibling rivalry, and her singular illustrations—a delicate mix of watercolor, pencil, pastels and acrylics—are unique and captivating. Her matter-of-fact text charms: "He whirled his tail like a tiny egg beater."

A gem. (Picture book. 3-7)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781554980970
Publisher:
Groundwood Books
Publication date:
08/09/2011
Pages:
40
Sales rank:
351,914
Product dimensions:
9.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.40(d)
Lexile:
AD490L (what's this?)
Age Range:
2 - 5 Years

Meet the Author

Marie-Louise Gay is a world-renowned author and illustrator of children’s books. She has won many prestigious awards, including the Governor General’s Award, the Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Award, the Vicky Metcalf Award and the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award. She has also been nominated for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award and the Hans Christian Andersen Award. Her books have been translated into more than fifteen languages and are loved by children all over the world. Her most recent book, Roslyn Rutabaga and the Biggest Hole on Earth! has received starred reviews from School Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews and Quill & Quire.

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