A Mink, a Fink, a Skating Rink


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About the Author

Brian P. Cleary is the author of the Words Are CATegorical(R), Math Is CATegorical(R), Food Is CATegorical(TM), and Animal Groups Are CATegorical(TM) series, as well as several picture books. He lives in Cleveland, Ohio. Jenya Prosmitsky was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, and lived most of her childhood and teen years in Kishinev, Moldavia (former U.S.S.R.). She studied fine arts, illustration, and graphic design at Repin College of Arts in Kishinev before coming to the U.S. For over 10 years Jenya has worked as an interactive/graphic designer and children's book illustrator. She is the artistic creator of the Words Are CATegorical series for Lerner Publishing Group of Minneapolis. Jenya resides in Boston with her husband, Olivier, two daughters, Eugenie and Alexandra, and two cats, Ferruccio and Marcello.


Gr 2-4-Using a combination of humorous rhymes and silly illustrations, Cleary attempts to define nouns. He adheres to the traditional definition, stating, "If it's a person,/place, or thing-/Your dad, Detroit,/a diamond ring,/If it's a boat or coat or clown,/It's simple, Simon,/it's a noun!" Nouns are highlighted in color throughout the text, making it easy for readers to identify them. The rhyming sentences are short and breezy, though some sound awkward: "The pope,/some soap/that's on a rope,/A downtown mall,/a downhill slope." While proper nouns are mentioned, possessives, plurals, and compound nouns are not. The bright illustrations appear to be rendered in colored pencils and crayons, providing both detail and humor. A variety of comical-looking cats are depicted on backgrounds splashed with sea blues, lime greens, and lovely lavenders. Libraries looking to build up their 400s section could consider this introductory title, but Ruth Heller's Merry-Go-Round: A Book about Nouns (Grosset & Dunlap, 1990) is a stronger choice.-Lisa Gangemi Krapp, Rockville Centre Public Library, NY Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

While this book may appear to be little more than a list of nouns, the witty zeal it brings to the task of enumeration makes this basic concept seem like plenty. Cleary indulges his fondness for wordplay (evident from such previous titles as Give Me Bach My Schubert) in the humorous, wide-ranging subjects that show up in the text, its cadences reminiscent of jump-rope songs: "If it's a train, or brain, or frown,/ It's elementaryÄit's a noun"; "London, Levis, PekineseÄ/ Proper nouns name all of these." Colored type highlights the nouns within the verse, which winds around the pictures in a bouncy typeface. For her first children's book, Prosmitsky introduces a cast of goofy-looking cartoon cats with round bodies and giant, flaccid noses. The challenge of illustrating such a random list results in gleeful, nearly nonsensical scenes: the two images for the lines "The pope, some soap that's on a rope,/ A downtown mall, a downhill slope" show a small black cat, rigid with fear, getting soaped up beside a portrait of the pope on the shower wall juxtaposed with a snowscape of cats and their bags sliding down a slope after shopping. Certainly one of the least serious grammar lessons imaginable, this book will convince kids that nouns are everywhere. Ages 7-9. (Sept.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

"This book is so clever, it can be used as a lesson on nouns, or just a fun read-aloud for any age."

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