Booklist Reviews

In this classic fairy tale, a clever cat enables his master to marry the king's daughter. After convincing the king that his humble young master is a wealthy count, Puss flatters a rich shape-shifting ogre, encourages him to turn into a mouse, and devours him. The cat welcomes the king and princess to his master's castle (formerly the ogre's). A wedding is announced and the cat is honored by the king. Though changed in a few details, the story is essentially that of Charles Perrault, who is credited in the appended artist's note. Pinkney's version is set in France, evidently around the time of the tale's first publication (1697). Created with graphite, colored pencils, and watercolors, the illustrations vary from the relatively simple, rustic opening scenes, in which characters stand out clearly against light or white backgrounds, to the later ones, which are often so ornate overall that the eye tends to wander from one element to another. A richly detailed version of the tale. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews

Pinkney provides sumptuous watercolor, gouache, and colored-pencil illustrations that place realistic natural elements side by side with ostentatious embellishments in the eighteenth-century clothing of the human characters. Aside from switching the story s usual ogre into a sorcerer, Pinkney sticks close to the source and uses his large pages, including a gatefold illustration, to great effect.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews

A rakish tabby wearing a feathered hat pulls on a pair of jaunty leather boots on the book's cover, looking out directly at the reader with just a glint of fangs showing -- this is no ordinary cat. Pinkney stays close to Perrault's written version of the story (according to the artist's note, Pinkney chose to set the tale in France in 1729, the date of the English publication of "Puss in Boots"), providing sumptuous watercolor, gouache, and colored-pencil illustrations that place realistic natural elements like animals and trees side by side with the ostentatious embellishments in the eighteenth-century clothing and furnishings of the human characters. In the story, a youngest son inherits nothing but a cat, but when the cat requests a pair of boots, he "knew his cat to be clever, and so he agreed." The cat then traps a series of animals (rabbit, partridge, pheasant) and delivers them to the king as a daily gift from the fictitious "Count of Carabas." He also manages to wrangle a set of fancy clothes for his master. Finally, the cat tricks a sorcerer into turning himself into a variety of animals, ending with a small, easily caught mouse, thus leaving his enormous castle to the cat's master. Aside from switching the story's usual ogre into a sorcerer, Pinkney sticks very close to the source, and uses his large pages, including a gatefold illustration, to great effect in showing the sorcerer's transformations. Perhaps one day he will flesh out the adventures hinted at in the book's closing endpapers, showing the debonair feline aboard a sailing ship. susan dove lempke

Kirkus Reviews

A retold but intact version of the familiar tale, given the customary early-18th-century setting in illustrations crowded with figures and period detail. Pinkney retells the tale in plain, measured language: " ‘Have some boots made for me,' [the cat] said, ‘and give me a strong sack with a drawstring. I just might be able to help you find your fortune.' " With a few minor changes or additions (the ogre, for instance, is a "rich and evil sorcerer" depicted as human), the story puts passive young Benjamin into the paws of a feline impresario who orchestrates his rise to fame, fortune and a royal wedding to the equally inert Princess Daniella. Identified in the author's afterword as a "black-and-white silver-tabby British shorthair," the cat cuts a properly self-confident, swashbuckling figure as he inserts himself into a claustrophobically populous royal entourage bursting with sumptuously patterned silks, floating ribbons, airy plumage and ruffles. He goes on to trick the sorcerer in a confrontation (depicted in part in an awkwardly placed gatefold) and to become prime minister. Nor are his adventures over, as a nautical scene on the rear endpaper hints. Handsomely turned out, as can be expected…but Pinkney himself notes that he studied over 20 illustrated editions of the story before producing one of his own, and he offers nothing particularly fresh. (Picture book/folk tale. 7-10) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Library Media Connection

This book is larger than life in Jerry Pinkney's depiction of the clever cat who uses trickery to gain power, wealth, and a courtly marriage for his penniless master. Every page is filled with muted watercolor paintings that draw the reader into each dramatic scene. From the introduction of Puss on the cover to the regal appearances of him throughout the story, there is no doubt as to who is in charge. Detailed illustrations capture the majestic life at court. The end of the story shows Puss sitting in his stately room in the French castle, penning diagrams for a mouse trap patent. Surrounded by books, a royal parrot, model ships, and all the trappings of a castle life including a gold fleur-de-lis patterned velvet chair, it is clear that Puss has made it. Pinkney's adaptation will serve as a worthy companion to other exceptional versions. Helen Burkart Presser, Author and Lower School Librarian, Canterbury School, Fort Wayne, Indiana. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED Copyright 2012 Linworth Publishing, Inc.

Publishers Weekly Reviews

Following earlier interpretations of The Little Red Hen and Little Red Riding Hood, Caldecott Medalist Pinkney (The Lion & the Mouse) offers another sumptuous reimagining of a classic story, this time drawing inspiration from 18th-century France, when Perrault's tale was first translated into English. Working in graphite, colored pencil, and watercolors, Pinkney offers finely detailed portrayals of both the autumnal countryside of dense birch forests and busy fields and the imposing architecture and lavish fashions of the period. Pinkney portrays Puss in naturalistic detail, yet his mischievous, quick-thinking personality radiates from his outsize gestures and facial expressions. As in the original story, Puss—looking dapper in flared scarlet boots and a brimmed hat with turquoise plume—works behind the scenes to engineer a regal life for his master, the youngest son of a miller. Pinkney makes Puss's major triumph (tricking a shape-shifting sorcerer out of his castle) especially dramatic, using a gatefold to show off the man's metamorphosis into a ferocious bear. Given the breathtaking graphics, Pinkney's well-crafted narrative is almost a bonus. Ages 4–8. Agent: Sheldon Fogelman, Sheldon Fogelman Agency. (Nov.)

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School Library Journal Reviews

PreS-Gr 4—Set in early-18th-century France, this adaptation of Charles Perrault's classic tale is filled with lushly delineated period details, moments of tingling excitement, and playful humor. The protagonist, a handsome silver-tabby British shorthair, boasts elegant black-velvet stripes and intelligent green eyes. Bequeathed to a miller's youngest son, the can-do cat promises that he will prove his worth if provided with appropriate footwear and a draw-string sack. Puss gets to work, cunningly using the sack to hunt game, courteously presenting his prizes to the king, and continually singing the praises of his master (dubbed the Count of Carabas). Cleverly orchestrating a meeting between the young man and the king's lovely daughter, Puss bamboozles the monarch into believing that Benjamin is a man of means and then procures these riches by tricking an evil sorcerer out of his holdings. The story ends with a royal wedding and Puss-now prime minister-contemplating future adventures (the rear endpaper shows him captaining a sailing ship). The text clearly relates the plot with lyrical language and vivacious energy, and the color-pencil and watercolor artwork showcases the period's costumes, architecture, and landscapes. Perfectly timed highpoints (and a foldout page) emphasize the sorcerer's transformations into various animals (in response to Puss's taunting dare), as well as the cat pouncing on the man-turned-helpless-mouse. Accessible and eye-catching, this is a fitting companion to Fred Marcellino's exquisite rendition (Farrar, 1990).—Joy Fleishhacker, School Library Journal

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