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Why Do Kittens Purr?

Marion Dane Bauer

Lions roar in the dining room and frogs hop down the stairs as a child's curiosity leads to whimsical fun. Marion Dane Bauer and Henry Cole create an inviting child's-eye view of the world in their imaginative book.


"Cole's (Some Smug Slug) acrylic and pencil drawings transform a dining room wall into a green field of sunflowers across which stretches a web. The juxtaposition of the real and the imagined seems both natural and unexpected at the same time. The boy's chair and bedroom dresser sit atop a lush grass lawn as if it were a commonplace arrangement for the line, "So why do bees buzz? Just because!" Cole varies the perspective, angles and colors of each illustration. The boy watches through staircase spindles as green frogs leap down stairs strewn with lily pads. A black bear's snow-covered lair appears next to an overstuffed chair." —Publishers Weekly

"Cole has added humor to his drawing as he usually does and it is great to see the wide-eyed boy looking at all of these animals and also seeing them so well rendered in acrylic paints and colored pencil. The closing scenes show this menagerie and the young boy all safely tucked in for the night, and then awakening to a brightly shining sun in the morning which adds yet another dimension to the story. The bright orange endpapers let readers know that this will be happy, cheerful book." —Childrens Literature

"...the best of (the pictures) have wonderful details, both obvious and hidden, and the representation of nature is exact and beautiful." —School Library Journal

"Cole's colored-pencil and acrylic illustrations pull the tale together, featuring a young boy wandering through his house and encountering the varied fauna described in the verses. Cole's paintings are at their best when they blend the reality of the boy's life with the fantastical images of the animal antics: a humongous lion lounges next to the kitchen table, holding a bowl labeled "kitty," a tree branch grows into the child's bedroom through a window, and frogs hop down stairs that end in a lily pond." —Kirkus