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Monday, February 1, 2016

Here Comes Valentine Cat, written by Deborah Underwood and illustrated by Claudia Rueda. Dial Books for Young Readers, Penguin Random House. 2016. $21.99 ages 3 and up

"Valentine's Day doesn't
have to be all mushy.
Why don't you make a
valentine for a friend?
Your stuffed squid?
Yes, I'm sure Squiddy
would like a valentine.
But maybe someone
who isn't a stuffed animal?"

That cat is back! Tactless as ever, Cat is not impressed with the upcoming Valentine's Day hoopla. Communicating with the ever-present, never seen, person who asks the questions needing answers, Cat uses carefully written signs and other appropriate materials to make a point. Turns out that Cat has no other friend to enjoy the arrival of a sent valentine.

A bone is thrown over the fence at a very opportune moment and the suggestion is made that perhaps Dog (the new one next door) would be the grateful recipient of a card from a feline friend. Friend? Cat doesn't think so! This is not the first bone thrown. Thinking that the dog is out to make life miserable for his new neighbor, the Valentine missive sent does not evoke welcome or mimic the endearing message generally sent.

"Roses are Red
Violets are Blue
Who's the worst
I think it's you!"

Oh, boy!

Next up, Cat prepares to build a rocket to send Dog to the moon! The pointed tip soon captures a valentine from Dog that leaves Cat feeling just a tad sheepish. Now what?

As in past Cat tales, Claudia Rueda matches the winning text with ink and colored pencil drawings that offer a ton of white space, making Cat the center for all of our attention. The emotions felt are evident on every page, and provide an abundance of humor and charm. This is a joyful and wickedly funny addition to the other Cat adventures; you need to have this book!


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