cover image Ballet Cat: The Totally Secret Secret

Ballet Cat: The Totally Secret Secret

Bob Shea. Disney-Hyperion, $9.99 (56p) ISBN 978-1-4847-1378-5

Tapping into the same barely restrained exuberance and visual energy that characterizes much of his previous work, Shea introduces Ballet Cat, a pearls-and-tutu-wearing feline who loves to dance as much as the author’s Dinosaur and Cheetah characters love winning. The problem? Ballet Cat’s best friend, Sparkles the Pony, may be getting a tad tired of “playing ballet” every day. Like Mo Willems’s Elephant and Piggie, these two are a contemporary comic duo with staying power; Shea mines Ballet Cat’s dialed-up enthusiasm and Sparkles’s hangdog expressions for everything they are worth. Boldly contrasting backgrounds heighten the strong emotions at play and, luckily, after Sparkles reveals his “secret secret” about dancing (“Is the secret that you are not so great at ballet?” Ballet Cat asks concernedly. “That is not a very secret secret, Sparkles”), this friendship is undiminished. Ages 6–8. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (May)