Book Review: The Cat's Baton is Gone by Scott Hennesy

Cover Art for The cat's baton is gone : a musical cat-tastrophe

I don't typically do reviews on here because, yeah, I barely have the time to get reviews written for School Library Journal. But I ordered this book with high hopes because preschool-appropriate, orchestra-themed books are really hard to come by. I love introducing all the instruments in music programs, so I am constantly on the lookout for new material.

Groan-inducing "cat" phrases aside (there's at least one per page. Consider yourselves warned!), this is a winner. The plot is fairly simple: the "Meowstro" loses his baton before the "orcatstra" (see, I told you!) is due to go on, so he goes around asking the musicians who play different instruments if they have seen it. So you have Yoshi, who plays the taiko (Japanese drum), and Erin, who plays the harp (Ireland), and so on. I won't spoil how Meowstro solves his problem, as the baton is still missing after asking 16 people (you could easily skip some of these when reading aloud to speed up the process), but I think kids will think it is quite silly. A fairly kid-friendly glossary is included giving more information about the instruments and orchestra terms mentioned in the text. Joe Lanzisero's illustrations feature cats wearing ethnic dress from the countries mentioned and fairly detailed (for cartoons) instruments. I love the expressions on all the cats' faces!

Is this an award-contender? Not in my opinion. Will it be the best book you read aloud this year? Probably not. Is it worth buying? I definitely think so. I know I will be using this musical cat-tastrophe (buh dum shhh) in storytimes soon!



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