Learn more about CCRLS
Reading recommendations from Novelist
Online learning resources
Cover image for Ballet Cat : the totally secret secret
Format:
Title:
Ballet Cat : the totally secret secret
Author:
ISBN:
9781484713785

9780545964814

9781338032208
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
2015.
Publication:
Los Angeles ; New York : Disney-Hyperion, [2015]
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : illustrations.
Series title(s):
Summary:
While Ballet Cat and Sparkles the Pony are trying to decide what to play, they each share an important secret.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 1.9 0.5 175070.
Holds:

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Status
Searching...
E SHEA
Searching...
Searching...
+ PRIMARY - SHEA (YELLOW)
Searching...
Searching...
J JGN - SHEA
Searching...
Searching...
Shea
Searching...
Searching...
EASY S (YELLOW)
Searching...
Searching...
READER SHEA
Searching...
Searching...
JER She
Searching...
Searching...
JER She
Searching...
Searching...
JER SHEA
Searching...
Searching...
JER SHEA
Searching...
Searching...
JER Shea
Searching...

On Order

Summary

Summary

Ballet Cat and Sparkles the Pony are trying to decide what to play today. Nothing that Sparkles suggests--making crafts, playing checkers, and selling lemonade--goes well with the leaping, spinning, and twirling that Ballet Cat likes to do. When Sparkles's leaps, spins, and twirls seem halfhearted, Ballet Cat asks him what's wrong. Sparkles doesn't want to say. He has a secret that Ballet Cat won't want to hear. What Sparkles doesn't know is that Ballet Cat has a secret of her own, a totally secret secret. Once their secrets are shared, will their friendship end, or be stronger than ever?


Author Notes

Bob Shea (www.bobshea.com) is the author-illustrator of the Dinosaur vs. series and several other picture books, including Buddy and the Bunnies in: Don't Play With Your Food! and Unicorn Thinks He's Pretty Great. He and his wife, Colleen, run their own graphic design company called Perfectly Nice. Their son Ryan inspired the character Dinosaur. When Bob isn't out on the road promoting his books, he lives and works in Madison, Connecticut.


Reviews 6

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 2-Ballet Cat wants all of her friends to love ballet as much as she does. In this second book in the series, Butter Bear seems to be a willing participant. That is, until Ballet Cat asks Butter Bear to do some superhigh leaps. Then suddenly Butter Bear comes up with a lot of excuses not to do the leaps at all. When the excuses reach a new high of ridiculousness, Ballet Cat finally clues in to what's really going on. When Butter Bear confesses her worry, it involves one final funny surprise. As in The Totally Secret Secret (Disney, 2015), Ballet Cat's love of dance blinds her to her friends' trepidations. Ballet Cat continues to insist on the leaps as Butter Bear throws obstacles in her way-cereal, ice pops, hibernation. This book has the quirky humor that readers have learned to expect from Shea. And he finds a clever way to combine this humor with the other qualities new readers need to succeed. Each page has solid, bright colored backgrounds. The backgrounds help the dialogue bubbles pop, and the bubbles themselves are colored so that readers can identify the speaker and follow the flow of the story. VERDICT Another fun addition to the series that readers will love.-Susan E. Murray, formerly at Glendale Public Library, AZ © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Publisher's Weekly Review

Tapping into the same barely restrained exuberance and visual energy that characterizes much of his previous work, Shea introduces Ballet Cat, a pearls-and-tutu-wearing feline who loves to dance as much as the author's Dinosaur and Cheetah characters love winning. The problem? Ballet Cat's best friend, Sparkles the Pony, may be getting a tad tired of "playing ballet" every day. Like Mo Willems's Elephant and Piggie, these two are a contemporary comic duo with staying power; Shea mines Ballet Cat's dialed-up enthusiasm and Sparkles's hangdog expressions for everything they are worth. Boldly contrasting backgrounds heighten the strong emotions at play and, luckily, after Sparkles reveals his "secret secret" about dancing ("Is the secret that you are not so great at ballet?" Ballet Cat asks concernedly. "That is not a very secret secret, Sparkles"), this friendship is undiminished. Ages 6-8. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (May) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Horn Book Review

Dance diva Ballet Cat returns for her second early-reader performance (Ballet Cat: The Totally Secret Secret, rev. 7/15), and once again shes paired with a reluctant partner/friend. Butter Bear likes dancing but draws the line at leaping. Ballet Cat cant imagine why: Super-high leaps are the best part of ballet. Ballet Cat gamely accommodates her pals concernsat first. When Butter Bear resorts to tried-and-true stalling tacticsshes hungry/thirsty/has to go to the bathroom in the woodsnormally sunny Ballet Cat cracks. Shea knows how to get maximum expression out of thick black lines. His characters pas de deux is choreographed on solid-color backgrounds with a minimum of props, giving new readers a leg up on the energetic and funny speech-bubble text. An audience of underpants peepers is what has Butter Bear grounded; Ballet Cats perspectiveIf you dance with all your heart, the only thing they will see is the beauty of ballet lifts everyones spirits. Underpants are on full display, but ballet conquers all! (Shorts under tutus would help, too.) kitty flynn(c) Copyright 2016. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Kirkus Review

Friendship has its high and low points in this dance adventure. Ballet Cat wants one thing and one thing onlythat which she considers the highlight of ballet dancingto leap high into the air. Her friend Butter Bear comes up with one excuse after another not to, all of which are countered by Ballet Cat. Finally Butter Bear realizes that even hibernation will not save her, and she whispers the real reason for her reluctant behavior: her patterned underwear will surely draw laughs from their watching friends. This scenario is designed to elicit chuckles from the beginning readers to whom the title is targeted; a two-page chant of "UNDERPANTS!" (times six) certainly adds to the fun. Ballet Cat is all pink, and Butter Bear is yellow, with each sketched in a cartoony style and outlined in heavy black lines against solid-colored backgrounds. The dialogue is spoken in colorful speech bubbles. This is the second adventure for Ballet Cat, and while she and B. Bear lack nuance in their relationship, their high spirits and lively repartee should keep fans of the series turning pages. A friend's single-mindedness overcomes myriad excuses, and a good time is had by all, beginning readers included. (Early reader. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Booklist Review

If you thought Ballet Cat's first adventure was funny, you are in for a real treat here. After all, what's funnier than underpants? As in The Totally Secret Secret (2015), Ballet Cat, drawn all in pink, has recruited a friend to dance with her. This time it's all-yellow Butter Bear, who really loves pointing her toes (Pointing toes is classy) but can't be persuaded to leap. As far as Ballet Cat is concerned, this is outrageous behavior (Super-high leaps are what make ballet so much fun). But Butter Bear will not be persuaded, making all sorts of excuses, until Ballet Cat forces the truth out of her: Butter Bear is afraid to leap because people might see her underpants. It retains all the deadpan humor and entertaining monochromatic illustrations of the first installment, but this has even more read-aloud appeal: the chorus of UNDERPANTS! UNDERPANTS! will certainly delight young listeners. Terrifically fun, and we can only hope that Ballet Cat has many friends still waiting to make an appearance in her books.--Reagan, Maggie Copyright 2016 Booklist


New York Review of Books Review

A CHILDREN'S BOOKS EDITOR once asked me what kind of books were needed most in libraries. My immediate response was, "Beginning readers!" Then I had a question: Why aren't there more available? The editor's reply was just as fast: "Because they're too hard to write." That's tough to argue with. The vocabulary matters (so-called sight words, which are short, commonly used words that are typically memorized, are a hallmark) but so does sentence length and structure; compound sentences can confuse new readers. The plot needs to be established quickly, and there should be predictable elements to help a child decode the language. And lest one think, "That doesn't sound too hard," there are also design factors to consider, including the font, the number of lines per page, the amount of space between words and lines and the placement of illustrations. It's also a category of children's books that has had quite the evolution, beginning with those simplified readers in the 1930s ("Dick and Jane" being the most notorious) and on to the more verbally and narratively adventurous Dr. Seuss and James Marshall. In recent years Mo Willems's Elephant and Piggie books, featuring a comical pair of mismatched but devoted friends, have been perhaps the most popular. But at long last, just as Willems is winding down that beloved series, the beginning-readers category is showing some exciting new developments. Bob Shea's new "Ballet Cat" series features two precocious best friends, Ballet Cat and Sparkles, who is a pony, though somehow about the same size as Ballet Cat. In the first book, "The Totally Secret Secret," the two pals are having trouble compromising on what to do. Ballet Cat, of course, wants to play ballet. Sparkles would rather do something else but is afraid he'll lose Ballet Cat as a friend if he expresses his true desires. While readers may see parallels with Elephant and Piggie, they'll soon realize that they are very much in the world of Shea, the author and illustrator of the "Dinosaur vs." picture book series. Besides Shea's familiar manic style, featuring characters drawn with thick, crayonlike black outlines on brightly colored pages, there is more innocence, and a cinematic feel, with a lot of physical action. (The Elephant and Piggie books, by contrast, have a Woody Allen-esque quality: wry, sophisticated humor with a heavy dose of malaise and angst.) As Sparkles grows increasingly scared to let on that he doesn't want to play ballet, the text gets smaller and the "camera" zooms in on Sparkles' concerned face until the big secret is revealed. But Ballet Cat has one of her own: In a twist that readers may see coming, Ballet Cat shares that she loves Sparkles even more than ballet. With order restored, the two begin a game of checkers. There are many visual clues to help early readers, but they'll also be likely to fall for these two sweet friends who want nothing more than to be together. Similarly graphic, but much simpler in style and tone, is Emma J. Virján's series kickoff "What This Story Needs Is a Pig in a Wig." Bordered panels throughout give a basic graphic novel feeling; however, when the action in the story calls for it, the borders dissolve and the colorful illustrations dramatically extend to the page's edge. Pig puts on a flamboyant red wig and gets in a boat, where she is quickly joined by many animal friends. Pig quickly panics about the possibility of the boat sinking and kicks everyone out; they swim to an island with a castle. You know what happens next: Pig misses her friends and invites them back ... to a bigger boat. With its frequent use of sight words and a story line that builds on itself, this is a great choice for absolute beginners and - bonus! - it has a true story arc, with a plot about friendship and cooperation. Searching for pig snouts hidden in the illustrations is an added delight. Another pig that will win fans was created by the prolific author, poet and artist Douglas Florian. The hero of "Pig Is Big on Books" reads them everywhere: home, school, the bus. He reads all sizes of books, he reads alone, and he reads in the company of others. But what's a pig to do when he can't find a book to read? Of course, he creates his own book ... in fact, he created this book! The lightly handled alliteration and rhyme, along with the monosyllabic and repeated vocabulary, will help fledgling readers decipher the text, and the winning narrative arc emphasizes problem-solving and the importance of reading - even as a communal activity. But the art may be the true star here. Florian's highly detailed yet painterly illustrations were created with gouache watercolor, colored pencil and collage on primed paper bag. The result is lovely, textured illustration that begs readers to touch the page. "In, Over and On! (the Farm)" also beckons the inexperienced reader. The text, contained in speech bubbles, is extremely spare and heavy on sight words. In each of the three "chapters," Ethan Long explores a different pair of prepositions: For instance, in "I Am On," the pig is on the tractor and is joined by the cow and the goat. When the tractor rolls down the hill, the farm animals are ejected from the vehicle and "now we are off." A large flap at the end of each chapter adds a tactile element while giving visual clues to the text, which is helpful when a new reader is struggling to identify a word. This would also be an excellent read-aloud to toddlers, especially with Long's graphic, bright, highly contrasting illustrations. One rising trend in early readers is the use of comic book elements in the artwork. It's a format extremely well suited to beginners, as speech bubbles clearly separate the text from the illustrations, and the paneled structure moves the story along in a natural way that gives essential visual clues to what's going on. Eleanor Davis and Drew Weing's "Flop to the Top!," part of TOON Books' Easy-to-Read Comics series, is a strong example of this trend. A note from the publisher explains why this one is for a slightly more experienced reader (a larger vocabulary and time shifts in the story line). Davis and Weing also have something to say about emotions and relationships. Wanda is a young narcissist determined to become a "star," at the expense of her family's happiness and comfort. The hilariously deadpan family dog, Wilbur, takes the brunt of Wanda's self-involvement. But when Wilbur unintentionally rises to fame - and abandons the family to go party with Sassy Cat - Wanda is bereft and must confront her past offenses. There is a lot going on here, including an underlying commentary about social media use, celebrity obsession and struggles with emotional expression. But Wanda's over-the-top personality juxtaposed with Wilbur's inscrutable countenance lightens the mood and saves the story from becoming too moralistic. Here's hoping Sassy Cat gets her own book next.