The Winner Is...

Kathy Brodsky, illus. by Cameron Bennett. Helpingwords (, $19.99 hardcover (42p) ISBN 978-0-9828529-0-3
The creators of Purrsnikitty and Just Sniffing Around offer another animal story, introducing Gabriel, a plucky bloodhound who spies a poster announcing a cat contest. "I saw the word ‘cat,'/ then thought for a while,/ ‘I can do this, I know.'/ The idea made me smile," muses Gabriel. Enlisting the help of several other animals, Gabriel doggedly works to disguise himself as a cat, tying his droopy ears into a bow, obtaining clawlike nails at a salon, and imitating a jumping kangaroo. Bennett's peppy paintings magnify the story's humor, as Gabriel strikes some silly poses: nose in the air, he mimics a zoo lion to learn "cattitude," and he dons a blonde wig in hopes of appearing hairier for the contest. Brodsky's couplets, however, are often strained or nonsensical ("I peer out at cats/ and see lots of faces./ I need information/ to touch all the bases") as Gabriel comes to realize he's better off being a dog after all. The book closes with questions about kids' feelings about themselves and suggestions for staging contests. Ages 3–6.
Reviewed on: 04/09/2012
Release date: 00/00/0000
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