Welcome one and all to another edition of Weekly Readings!
For those new here, Weekly Readings is when your lit. rat reviews picture books I’ve read here and there. While T.A.A. focuses on animal stories, we do give humans their due now and again…
This week, in honor of “National Pet Month” your lit. rat brings you two exceptional books, both of which were Kickstarter projects that met their goals and are now available for you to check out, once you’ve read our reviews, of course!
Before getting into our reviews, I have , as long time T.A.A. fans know I participated in spreading the word as well as donating my money with the hopes of seeing these books to publication, and prompted me to launch “T.A.A. CARES” as a way to spotlight and support authors and other creatives in need, but that said, I still reviewed the books below on their own merits as I do every book I review, just being transparent.
CHALKY AND THE NEW SPORTS CAR
Written by: Stanley Potter
Illustrated by: Jordan Henderson (@taleandteller)
Publisher: Little Thunder Co.
Pub. Date: February 1st, 2014
I got to be honest, I wasn’t always a fan of cats, as I had bad experiences with them in real life, this was long before I took the title of “Literary Rat” but after watching “Oliver and Company” several times in my youth (during the pre-Netflix era) I slowly started to see the feline world differently…
I’m still an unabashed dog fancier, but there may come a day when a lad or lass of the feline persuasion will enter my life, but that’s another story…
While I often lament the “extremist minimalist” movement in picture books these days, this is one book where I don’t mind the spare narrative as it gives the reader and pre-reader lots of room to make the book their own.
The art truly LEAPS off the page, and the spare text does its job while leaving a lot to the imagination. The most apparently noticeable touch for all us wordsmiths or ones in training is the creative use of fonts.
(If you’re read Jon Scieszka’s “The Stinky Cheese Man” or the “Geronimo Stilton” series you know of what I speak)
Most books about cats (at least when I was growing up) were stereotypically aimed at girls, and while that persists, this a book that I’m sure girls would love is also something boys would enjoy given Chalky’s rambunctious spirit and physically charged curiosity.
As my feline friend and colleague, Dempsey Woyzeck (of Swinebert and Dempsey) has said when I read him the story-
“For every dog lover who got ‘stuck with a cat’ will find newfound respect and interest in the feline mystique.”
High praise straight from one well-read kitty!
(Since he too has a human who still wants a dog, but learned to love cats thanks to Dempsey)
Plus, those of you who LOVE kernels of truth in your reading will be glad to know that titular cat has a real life basis!
Even when I had issues with cats in real life from a personal perspective, I still found them fascinating from a writer’s perspective, and while I’ll always be a dog lover, “Chalky and The New Sports Car” is a short and sweet bold taste of my newfound appreciation for cats, and I was honored to have had a small part in bringing this book to readers everywhere!
Written by Adam Glendon Sidwell
Illustrated by Edwin Rhemrev
Publisher: Future House Publishing
Pub. Date: May 15th, 2014
Of course, being a dog lover, this book couldn’t escape my radar, this also has the honor of being the first Kickstarter that your lit rat put up some of his own limited finances, and inspired me to launch our “T.A.A. CARES” initiative to help authors and other creatives achieve their passion projects, and lend a proverbial paw to the word of mouth and when possible, contribute money to ensure they reach the finish line.
Learn how FETCH came to be-
Now having read the final book I can say without bias that it proved to worth the wait!
Like “Chalky and the New Sports Car” this books uses spare but effective text, letting the breaktaking illustrations give you a sense of transcending to a whole other world.
Fans of “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” will find this world of canine majesty just as full of enchanting possibilities as Equestria, and if anyone from the Hub Network reads this, you may want to snatch up the television rights to this one! (just some friendly advice from The Literary Rat)
This a true love letter to dog lovers everywhere and I’m honored to give it T.A.A.’s Blue Ribbon of Approval-
This is one book that will NEVER
leave my private library-
That’s it for Weekly Readings, check back next time!
NOTE FROM THE LITERARY RAT: If my ramblings convinced you to buy one or more of the books mentioned above, please support T.A.A. by clicking on the affiliate cover images above or links within the review.