Saturday, December 27, 2014

The N.Y. Times Sunday Book Review

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!!
December 19, 2014
Squarely in the primary-color, animal-intense tradition of the modern ABC book, Elizabeth Schoonmaker’s “Square Cat ABC” brings back the orange kitty Eula from “Square Cat,” in what is, yes, a lovely square book. A brilliant full-page red A for “Amazing” features a blue-and-pink mouse sliding down the leg of the letter into the next page, where she or he befriends the square cat, who’s digging in her garden. Fans of “Square Cat” will recognize the theme of friendship’s embrace of difference, as Eula introduces the frightened mouse to her pal the porcupine. Schoonmaker’s page-filling red letters and bright watercolors enhance the short and sweet story meant for the youngest readers, which associates the letters with everyday words that a child might say: “Whoa,” “Stop,” “Hooray.” When Eula persists in finding spinach “eXtremely Yucky,” the friendly mouse offers her “Zucchini, perhaps?” Touches like that give “Square Cat ABC” the makings of a classic: Its substance comes from wearing its visual and verbal cleverness so lightly.