Puss in Boots

Jerry Pinkney, Author
Jerry Pinkney. Dial, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-8037-1642-1
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Following earlier interpretations of The Little Red Hen and Little Red Riding Hood, Caldecott Medalist Pinkney (The Lion & the Mouse) offers another sumptuous reimagining of a classic story, this time drawing inspiration from 18th-century France, when Perrault’s tale was first translated into English. Working in graphite, colored pencil, and watercolors, Pinkney offers finely detailed portrayals of both the autumnal countryside of dense birch forests and busy fields and the imposing architecture and lavish fashions of the period. Pinkney portrays Puss in naturalistic detail, yet his mischievous, quick-thinking personality radiates from his outsize gestures and facial expressions. As in the original story, Puss—looking dapper in flared scarlet boots and a brimmed hat with turquoise plume—works behind the scenes to engineer a regal life for his master, the youngest son of a miller. Pinkney makes Puss’s major triumph (tricking a shape-shifting sorcerer out of his castle) especially dramatic, using a gatefold to show off the man’s metamorphosis into a ferocious bear. Given the breathtaking graphics, Pinkney’s well-crafted narrative is almost a bonus. Ages 4–8. Agent: Sheldon Fogelman, Sheldon Fogelman Agency. (Nov.)
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