Zat Cat! A Haute Couture Tail

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9780439273169: Zat Cat! A Haute Couture Tail
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Chesley McLaren flaunts her talent with words and pictures in this delightful romp through Paris, where a stray cat unwittingly finds a home, affection, and a name of distinction.

This is the tail of a scruffy stray cat tossed into a world where he knew not of hats, nor frilly pink dresses, nor fanciful tresses. He became quite a star in the wink of an eye. Who would've thought he could climb so high? Now ladies are screaming and clamoring to see Monsieur Etoile -- La Rage de Paree!

This winsome picture book-cum-fashion extravaganza has a jaunty rhyming text, effervescent candy-colored illustrations, and fun "faux french." Readers of all ages will clamor for more -- in fashionable French accents, of course!

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From School Library Journal:

Grades 2-5--High fashion, or haute couture if you will, is the subject of "zat cat's" misadventures. A scruffy Parisian stray enjoys all the famous spots from the Jardin Luxembourg to Le Mus‚e du Louvre. But at Le Grand Salon, he gets lost amid the satin and frills and lace of the runways and great havoc ensues. When the dust finally settles, the season's new creations have been shredded by the cat's claws. The show goes on anyway and the crowd goes wild for the latest trend: "Frayed coats, frayed dresses, frayed anything at all." The fashion magazines name Monsieur Etoile Le Chat de Mode and he goes on to live a life of "purrr-fection." The text is a sophisticated m‚lange of references to Paris and to fashion, and of lots of wordplay including bilingual puns. A liberal sprinkling of phrases ("Faux French" according to McLaren in an opening note) enlivens the text. Translations and phonetic pronunciations are provided on each page. Illustrations are a visual delight and the gouache paintings clearly reflect the illustrator's background in fashion design. The breezy, loose sketches float ungrounded on a white field. Lots of curlicue flourishes and a rounded typeface add to the fun. Colors are mostly limited to chic shades of pink to red and elegant gray to black. The book is charmingly reminiscent of Eloise in style and design and in its sophisticated adult appeal.
Dorian Chong, San Jose State University, CA
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Publishers Weekly:

This effervescent "tail" of a Parisian cat is fluffier than chocolate mousse and bubblier than a split of pink champagne. McLaren (You Forgot Your Skirt, Amelia Bloomer!) sets the tone with a droll prefatory rhyme: "To those who speak `La Langue des Fran‡ais' please don't dismay. My French est mauvais." Having apologized in advance, she introduces her title feline, a gray stray who "roams about town, down the Champs Elys‚es, and when the mood strikes him he dines au caf‚." One day, while trolling for a free lunch at a fine hotel, the four-legged gourmet happens upon a fashion show. After his claws snag a model's fuchsia train, he accidentally shreds Monsieur Pierre's entire collection; a gatefold enables a full-length view of the savaged runway. Fortunately if predictably, the chic audience adores the results: "So original, exotic, and free. These ingenious designs C'est le `Rage' de Paree!" Abundant footnotes translate such terms as the celebrity cat's new name, Etoile ("ay-TWAL Star"). McLaren, who also works in fashion, complements the funny, frivolous verse with flamboyant brushstrokes of black ink on a white background. Etoile charms tuxedoed men and women in stiletto heels, and every designer frock features extravagant accents. Admirers of Maira Kalman's Max books (or of Eloise's diction) will appreciate this livre's joie de vivre. Ages 3-8.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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9780439519229: Zat Cat! A Haute Couture Tail

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ISBN 10:  0439519225 ISBN 13:  9780439519229
Publisher: Scholastic Inc., 2003
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