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Readers Advisory: Ballet Cat: The Totally Secret Secret by Bob Shea

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Disney-Hyperion, ISBN-10 1484713788 , May 2015

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?

If you work with beginning readers or the picture book set, you know Elephant and Piggie by Mo Willems have a large and enthusiastic fan base. You also know a young reader can get through the series quickly and still want more. If you’re in need of readalikes, Ballet Cat is ideal. Although Ballet Cat and Sparkle Pony sound like girly names, the story isn’t frou frou at all. Sparkle Pony, despite his fabulous name, wants to take a day off from playing ballet and maybe get out the checkerboard or have some lemonade instead, but he’s afraid Ballet Cat will stop liking him. Of course friendship prevails in the end. This brightly colored, comical series is sure to take off.

To buy or not to buy: First purchase!

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