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Chester (Chester)
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About the Author

Melanie Watt is an acclaimed children's book author and illustrator. Her books include the Scaredy Squirrel, Chester and Learning With Animals series, Augustine, Leon the Chameleon and Have I Got a Book for You! She lives near Montreal.

Melanie Watt is an acclaimed children's book author and illustrator. Her books include the Scaredy Squirrel, Chester and Learning With Animals series, Augustine, Leon the Chameleon and Have I Got a Book for You! She lives near Montreal.

Reviews

PreS-K-While the conceit behind this book is quite clever, the presentation will be puzzling to young children and won't be of interest to those who are old enough to "get it." Watt begins writing a story about a mouse that lives in the country. However, her cat, Chester, wants the story to be about him, so he takes a red marker in paw and begins to write his own tale in addition to, and sometimes instead of, the author's. The book needs to be read in two voices (the author's and the cat's) in order to make sense to young listeners; but even then, there is not enough plot to garner their interest, and the concept will require too much explanation. The "story" is merely about the pair's test of wills. Charming pencil and watercolor illustrations, assembled digitally, depict Chester as a pudgy tabby and the mouse as tiny and gray. The chances of this book being requested more than once are remote.-Maryann H. Owen, Racine Public Library, WI Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

This sidesplitting metafiction offers further proof of Watt's (the Scaredy Squirrel books) extravagantly fresh, cheeky voice. Here, the exasperated author-illustrator engages in a literary tug-of-war with the eponymous marmalade puss, who has a figure like Nero Wolfe and an outsize ego to match. Chester is determined to thwart Watt's attempts to write a nice little book about a winsome country mouse; using a red magic marker, he writes, "Then Mouse packed his bags and went on a trip very, very far away and we never saw him ever again!" underneath Watt's opening sentence and attempts to make himself the star of the show. Volleys of creativity and red ink follow: Watt introduces a fierce dog, only to have Chester make him vegetarian; Chester begins a new story set in Chesterville ("where mice weren't allowed"), but Watt makes it rain, washing his work away. Chester retaliates by caricaturing the author ("Hi. I am Melanie Watt and I am very angry!" reads a speech bubble), and the mouse even enters the act, complaining, "I can't work like this!" The closing pages seem to give Watt the upper hand (hint: a humiliating pink tutu is involved), but readers, who will adore Chester's unbridled self-interest and blatant disregard for artistic integrity, may suspect that this is one kitty who has not yet begun to fight. Ages 4-8. (Oct.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

Highly Recommended--Kirkus Review, Starred Review
This sidesplitting metafiction offers further proof of Watt's ... extravagantly fresh, cheeky voice.--Publisher's Weekly, Starred Review

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