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Reviewed by:
  • Puss in Boots
  • Jeannette Hulick
Pinkney, Jerry . Puss in Boots; written and illus. by Jerry Pinkney. Dial, 2012. 34p. ISBN 978-0-8037-1642-1 $17.99 R 6-9 yrs.

All the traditional elements of Perrault's classic cat tale are in place in this elegant retelling, with Pinkney maintaining a slightly mannered tone of dignified restraint while adding a few fresh, original narrative details. For example, Puss's ultimate triumph involves not an ugly ogre but a "rich and evil sorcerer" who undergoes three transformations—bear, deer, and, finally, mouse—before Puss pounces and overcomes him. The storytelling itself is simplified and streamlined, making the events and characters more comprehensible to a younger audience; the lush graphite, colored pencil, and watercolor illustrations are loaded with detail inspired by other illustrated versions of this story and by the fashions, objects, and landscapes of seventeenth-century France (explained at length in an artist's note). Pinkney's Puss is a lithe and handsome "black-and-white silver-tabby British shorthair" who looks perfectly at ease in his upright stance but still retains his catlike movement and expression throughout the pages—particularly stunning is the scene in which Puss leaps, his shadow looming on the wall behind him, upon the sorcerer-turned-mouse. A few compositions are a bit busy, being overloaded with figures in fancy costumes, but overall the visual effect is one of aristocratic charm, and kids will enjoy speculating on Puss's future, hinted at in the endpaper illustrations of Puss aboard a majestic ship. [End Page 257]



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p. 257
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