My first picture book “Max Attacks” comes out June of 2019 with Simon & Schuster!
By Kathi Appelt
Illustrated by Penelope Dullaghan
Fish and birds and lizards and socks…is there anything Max won’t attack? Watch your ankles and find out in this clever, rhyming picture book about a very naughty kitty cat.
Two Starred Reviews! ***
KIRKUS REVIEW (starred review!)
A pet cat demonstrates typical feline behavior.
The orange and pink fish swimming in the fishbowl fascinate Max, pictured as a blue cat with black stripes. He is easily distracted, however, so his first foray to get the fish ends quickly when he takes a detour up the patio-door screen in pursuit of a lizard. The fact that he then pulls the curtains down on the dog’s head results in a comical tally: “Max, one. Dog, none.” The distractions (and the scorekeeping) continue. Max chases a catnip toy, battles a basket of socks, and pounces on a swinging shoestring. After each diversion, he returns to the fishbowl. His eventual assault appears to be successful, but the final reckoning reassures readers that the fish have survived to swish another day. Rollicking rhymes and playful language create an admiring third-person narrative that perfectly captures Max’s energy and charm. The typeface, which mimics painted block printing, adds personality and enhances the humor. Dullaghan’s illustrations suggest a spare, mid-20th-century modern home; lots of white space keeps the focus on the bouncy main character’s amusing antics. Textured brush strokes add to the sense of movement, while simply drawn features convey a wealth of emotion (even in the case of the unflappable fish).
Clearly a paean to the pleasures of having a cat companion, this catalog of Max’s actions should win plenty of accolades: Max, a million; readers a million-plus. (Picture book. 5-8)
BOOKLIST REVIEW (starred review!)
Max, a blue-and-black tiger-striped cat, is on alert for all things attackable. Though his ultimate goal is the fishbowl, the frenetic feline is easily distracted by a variety of objects: a lizard on the window screen, a pile of dirty socks, a dangling shoestring. Each captures his attention and sends him off in a different direction, but the fish are never far from his mind. The lively rhyming text is fun to read aloud: “Max’s paws are made for pounces. / Max’s legs are built for trounces. / Like a dozen kitty wishes, midst the bubbles swish the fishes.” The large print moves around the pages, adding energy to the tale, and some words are emphasized, enlarged, or highlighted in red, orange, green, blue, or gold. Loosely painted illustrations on crisp white backdrops appear in many sizes and reflect Max’s nonstop diversions. Differing perspectives reveal the cat on his short-lived adventures from various angles. One especially humorous picture shows Max’s magnified face through the fishbowl: huge eyes and pink tongue licking his kitty lips. The family dog is in awe of the always-on-the-move cat as he follows him around the house, amazed at what the energetic kitty pursues next. A large format, engaging pictures, and enjoyable rhymes create a perfect read-aloud for story time or one-on-one sharing.
— Maryann Owen