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Sunday, January 1, 2012

Pussycat, Pussycat, where have you been? Written by Dan Bar-el and illustrated by Rae Mate. Simply Read, Raincoast Books. 2100. $18.95 ages 3 and up

"Pussycat, Pussycat,
What followed after?

A dream and a breeze,
A night full of laughter.
Pussycat, Pussycat,
How far did you go?

The length of a stage
And the span of a show."

I love the feline-inspired moon watching all the action as a young girl and her beloved cat play games of imagination and real pleasure in this most engaging adaptation of an old nursery rhyme. Young readers may not even know the original, but when the sharing is finished they will have a new book to love and to ask for again and again.

This is pussycat fears rhyming couplets which follow the fairly traditional question posed by his lovely young companion, he regales her with tales of world travel and numerous new discoveries. Here is an invitation for readers to explore on their own those things that interest them, and to do so with relish and a zest for new adventures:

"Pussycat, Pussycat,
Who else did you meet?

The pageant performers
Along every street.

Pussycat, Pussycat,
Did you join in?

If life is a circus
Why wait to begin."

The oil paintings that accompany each of these questions and answers will inspire listeners to look carefully at the many double page spreads created to encourage careful thought and lively discussion. What a gift for children to discover new life in an old rhyme, and to know that writers are clever enough to do what this accomplished author had done!

Its gentle messages soothe and serve as a lovely lullaby and a warm invitation to do some personal exploring:

"Pussycat, Pussycat,
Will you stay home?

I always get restless.
I always will roam.

Pussycat, Pussycat,
I'll miss you again.

Then come travel with me,
My partner, my friend."

Lovely, just lovely!

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