May 10, 2009

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Chicken and Cat Clean Up

Written by Sara Varon
Illustrated by Sara Varon
Scholastic

Sara Varon's sequel to her first children's book has our two protagonists trying to run a business, namely a cleaning company. (I admit, I figured it was just two pals cleaning their house, but this premise is cooler.)

The trouble is, Cat is absolutely terrible at cleaning just about anything. He's a klutz at dishes, uses more laundry soap than a comedy routine, and can't even keep from eating the scenery.

Depressed, Cat can only watch as chicken tries to carry on. It seems all is lost until nature kicks in. After all, what's more natural for a cat than chasing things? By the end of yet another charming story, Chicken and Cat have learned to concentrate on what they do best.

I very much enjoy Varon's more adult-centric comics, but she's writing excellent children's work and I think she's got quite the career doing it. Her plots are simple but provide a valuable lesson for the young reader and the artwork is accessable to any age, which is part of the fun. The little touches are in there, including what I think may be a nod to the Babar stories I'm sure both Varon and I read as children. Every item gets a name, rooms get lighting, streets get enough detail to make it clear where we are, and so on. That's the stuff that separates a good work from a really good work, and Varon comes through again.

Not sure any adults need to read this, but if you have kids, you definitely should pick up a copy for them. Chicken and Cat are a winning combination, and I bet we'll be seeing more of them.