Perfect Picture Book Friday looks at, Glamourpuss, by Sarah Weeks. Having grown up with cats, (cats we assumed were all girls and thus named appropriately until…the fated trip to the vet when we were told we had boys in need of quick name changes…) I couldn’t resist this wonderful book. Although none of my cats worshiped themselves to the degree Glamourpuss does in this charming fairytale-esque story, they all came quite dangerously close.
Title – Glamourpuss
Written by- Sarah Weeks
*Illustrated by- David Small
*Published by- Scholastic Press – 2015
*Suitable for ages – 4 – 7 (but I think this is a book for all ages.)
*Topics/theme – friendship, jealousy, and compassion
*Opening – Once upon a pillow sat a glamorous cat named Glamourpuss.
Jacket copy –Glamourpuss loves being the center of attention. So when an unwelcome guest (a dog, no less!) steals the spotlight with some tasteless bow-wowing and undignified tail-wagging, Glamourpuss worries that she’s going to fall out of fashion. Is there room for only one superstar in this mansion? When Glamourpuss makes her most majestic move to find out, the result is pure purrfection.
Kirkus Review – A lighthearted twist on the traditional antagonism between cats and dogs takes place in an over-the-top upper-crust world.
Weeks includes several nods to fairy-tale conventions in her slyly amusing text. The saga begins “Once upon a pillow,” and the eponymous heroine turns to her mirror for confirmation that she is the “most glamorous of all.” Meanwhile, classic films are clearly the inspiration for Small. Created with ink, watercolor, pastel and collage, illustrations include a flat-screen TV showing Theda Bara as Cleopatra, a scrawny Chihuahua with Shirley Temple, Carmen Miranda and Scarlett O’Hara costumes, and a setting that evokes the glamour of old Hollywood. Bluebelle, the dog, is a visitor in the home of Glamourpuss’ owners and, in the cat’s eyes at least, a rival for their affections. Well-pleased with her luxurious lifestyle, cheerfully cataloged in scratchy, energetic artwork, Glamourpuss tries her best to sabotage Bluebelle. While her efforts don’t pan out, and the dog definitely has her day, young listeners will likely be pleased with the (not entirely) unexpected rapprochement between the two pets.
Sophisticated vocabulary and pop-culture references may well fly over the heads of children, making this fizzy, exuberant entertainment a treat that is best shared by an adult with a penchant for screwball comedy. (Picture book. 4-7)
Why do I like this book? The marriage of text and illustration is purrr-fection. The story opens with the introduction of an excessively pampered cat who thinks quite highly of herself. Children will learn new vocabulary words with ease as they are clearly and humorously defined both through text and illustration. The illustrations offer a wealth of details to keep young listeners entertained as they endure the frustration Glamourpuss feels when a talented dog in tacky clothes comes to visit. Enter…Bluebell. Upon discovering that Bluebell despises entertaining and parading about in ridiculous outfits, Glamourpuss steps in to offer a few lessons of her own, helping Bluebell become the kind of dog she deserves and wants to be, thus creating a lasting friendship.
Author – Visit Sarah Weeks here.
Illustrator – Visit David Small here.
Interview with Sarah Weeks about Glamourpuss here.
Lear to draw a cat for children here.