Our picture book, Big Cat, Little Cat by Elisha Cooper (OR 'Cats Being Cats') garnered an A+ rating -- not just from the 'cat people' among the ten of us, but unanimously. We all loved the simple-seeming black drawings of the big and little cats, and realized that they so enhanced a simply, but wonderfully-written story that moved full circle from the beginning to the end. We loved the way it dealt with the cats becoming acquainted, learning together, having fun, growing, and just enjoying life, until one of them 'had to go and he didn't come back.' Although there were no humans in this story up to this point, we were all so moved as the next page turn showed a family in silhouette, and all, including the (now big) cat were now very sad. But then -- a new little cat came, and it began anew. A perfect picture book!
We had mixed reactions to our novel, Princess Cora and the Crocodile by Laura Amy Schlitz. Everyone loved the crocodile, sent by the princess' fairy godmother, but only a few of us loved the story too. Some thought it was a bit boring and didactic, as well as predictable, and couldn't 'buy' the fact that the crocodile's actions helped to turn Cora into a little girl who thought for herself. Others of us loved this aspect of it. We agreed that it spoke to the 'overprogramming' of many kids these days, and we thought it might be a good 'first thick book' for young 2nd or 3rd grade readers, as well as a good read-aloud -- a chapter a day -- for a classroom. A couple of readers felt that this award-winning writer was not at her best in this particular book.