cover image Bad Kitty

Bad Kitty

Nick Bruel, read by Vanessa Williams. Macmillan Audio, unabridged, one CD, 24 mins., $9.99 ISBN 978-1-4272-1362-4

Bruel’s picture book—which is included with the audiobook—cycles through the alphabet four times, telling the story of an angry cat exacting revenge on her owners for feeding her vegetables. This audio version works well when paired with the print edition—without it, children might be confused why a word like “rhUbarb” is listed under U instead of under R. Included are three audio versions of the book: the first is narrated by Vanessa Williams; the second is essentially the same recording as the first, with children prompted to follow along and turn the page at the sound of a cat’s meow; and the third is a live recording of Bruel reading to a class of children. Williams proves to be an expressive, enthusiastic, and polished narrator, while Bruel’s reading is much livelier, but lacks the musical accompaniment, sound quality, and production values of the studio recording. It’s clear that Bruel enjoys reading to children as he occasionally breaks from the book to explain something they might not know: “Zinnias,” he says, “for all you city folks, is a type of flower.” Ages 4–8. A Square Fish paperback. (Jan.)