MILLI, JACK, AND THE DANCING CAT

Stephen Michael King, Author . Philomel $14.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-399-24240-3

Featuring a small gaggle of eccentric characters, this Australian picture book offers large giggles over its breezy watercolor illustrations of loopy, Seussian contraptions. "Milli could take a thing that was a nothing... and make it... a something!" Never brave enough to show her ingenious creations to other people, Milli resigns herself to making plain brown shoes in her shoe shop. Then one day she meets two wandering minstrels, Jack and Cat, who show her how to abandon her inner censor and dance. Not only do they teach her the two-step, but the three of them do "the tricky twisting backward-sliding four-step," and King's (Emily Loves to Bounce ) lighthearted interior and jacket illustrations feature them cheerfully dancing in sunshine and rain with the style and verve associated with a 1950s musical. Dancing makes Milli "feel brave and free" enough to show her marvelous inventions to the world. King takes a flight of fancy with his visual depictions of what Milli invents, such as the crazy tuba-like instrument she fashions out of a telephone, lead pipes and a huge plastic flower, or the amazing cart she devises for Jack and Cat. Milli is initially worried about how the townsfolk will react to her art, but her fears, fortunately, prove unfounded. The barely disguised self-help theme doesn't dent this book's joie de vivre, which is likely to delight readers who share any of Milli's artistic leanings. Ages 4-up. (May)

Reviewed on: 05/10/2004
Release date: 04/01/2004
Genre: Children's
Hardcover - 1 pages - 978-1-86508-748-1
Paperback - 32 pages - 978-1-86508-747-4
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