This one fell off the shelf while I was leveling our junior fiction section. I thought, "Huh. Looks interesting. I should read this one aloud." I tucked it in my bag and brought it home. Ivy found it immediately and began looking through it. I offered to read it to her and she said, "Just a minute." When she'd finished turning every page, she smiled and said, "Read!"
It's a beautifully descriptive book, with lots of creative use of language and unusual phrases, I imagine because it was translated from another language. It flowed effortlessly -- no need for chapters in this "chapter" book. Ivy was captivated for the entire story.
What didn't work for me was the illustrations. The story focused on the beauty of the sea-cat's suit, and how the dragon king wanted a beautiful suit like that for himself. But the illustrations were so quirky, with no color, that I just couldn't believe the story. I kept thinking how much more successful it would be if it had been published as a picture book, with lavish illustrations and rich hues -- Brandon Dorman, anyone? I hope some publisher picks this one up and reillustrates it, because it could be a real winner.
Awesomeness: 6 - sweet and creative, but packaged too strangely to stand out
Wordsmithing: 8 - lyrical
Personages: 6 - reasonably three-dimensional but not super surprising, this being an early chapter book
Mesmerizitude: 5 - eh
Illustrations: 3 - I actually liked them for what they were, but they didn't go with the story, and I really wanted to see some color to go with the lavish descriptions
Labels: early elementary, fantasy