“Stretchy and Beanie” by Judith Schachner (Dial Books for Young Readers, November 2), ages 3 to 5, 40 pages, $ 17.99 hardcover, $ 10.99 ebook.
The last time we saw Stretchy McHandsome, the Butterscotch Tabby, he had ventured away from his wild family’s box and quickly befriended a red haired moppet named Beanie McBright.
Like Stretchy, Beanie has one blue eye and one green eye, and she enjoys books, stretching, and napping outdoors. She is also one of nine siblings who love all cats. So the McHandsome cat clan drags their box into Beanie’s garden.
“When the McHandsome Clan met the McBrights, every child had a cat, so it worked out well.”
In this sequel, Beanie almost destroys their happiness forever. She first reads a book on how to train a cat, aptly titled “How to be a tiger mom”. Then she tries to train Stretchy. The result is a feline-scale rebellion, with wet carpets.
She harasses him in 20-minute fights meant to teach him math, music, dance, and art. Then she tries to walk him in a harness. When he refuses to move, even for treats, she ties him to a pram to take him for a walk down the street.
Choked with attention, Stretchy seizes her first chance to escape and runs away. After a frantic search, Beanie finds him having fun terrorizing birds up a tree. He refuses to leave. After a while, however, he realizes that there is no food or place to take a nap. But he won’t come down because Beanie is camping at the foot of the tree and he’s fed up with his bossy.
In the end, however, there is a lesson learned and a happy rescue.
Even more than in the first book, Judy Schachner’s mixed media depictions of alluring ragamuffins and opinionated furry figures light up the pages. It’s a bright world with lots to watch and humor dotted here and there.
Its verses rhyme, but with natural intonations, making it a fun story to share while reading aloud.
A well-published children’s author whose books can be found in big box stores as well as bookstores, Schachner is best known as the author of the Skippyjon Jones series.
Read to Me is a weekly book review for young people.