K-Gr 2-In the first book, Skinny, a rabbit, and Fats, a pig, do everything together, from fishing to making marshmallow pie to building rockets. The three stories are funny, and the accompanying cartoons convey the humor of these situations. Although Meister's characters are engaging and are accepting of who they are, it is unfortunate that their names reflect their body types. Still, Skinny and Fats is a fun addition for beginning-reader collections. In the second title, two kittens are invited to spend the weekend with their grandparents picking apples and baking pies. Harry is excited, but Emily is less so as she thinks apples are "Yuck!" The four adventures from this weekend all revolve around apples. Ruelle's child-centered dialogue, gentle humor, and simple watercolor illustrations make this an ideal choice for readers not quite ready for chapter books.-Elaine Lesh Morgan, Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Apples remain a staple of autumn lessons in the early elementary grades, offering many opportunities for thematic integration into the content areas. Stories about apples are always in demand in both school and public libraries, and Ruelle's (April Fool!, 2002, etc.) latest entry in her Harry and Emily easy reader series addresses that demand. Tiger-striped kitten Emily and her big brother Harry go on their first visit to their grandparents' house by themselves, with plans for picking apples and baking apple pies (though Emily repeatedly declares she doesn't like apples). They pick apples in the orchard with their grandparents, sort the apples by size, and in a humorous midnight kitchen raid, eat their grandfather's prepared piecrusts. The next day the understanding grandparents help Harry and Emily make more piecrusts and the actual pies, and the young cats find the baking experience, of course, "easy as apple pie." Though the story doesn't impart any significant information about apples, it does address the nervous feelings children have when spending the night away from home and the mild trouble caused by eating something without permission. Ruelle's na�ve style of illustration is cheery and pleasant, just like her stories. One tiny worm in the apple: Grandma loves the color yellow, and there is a reference to a vase of yellow flowers that are clearly orange. (Easy reader. 6-8)