Monday, January 18, 2010

It's a Secret!

Nancy and I were talking about some of our favorite new children's books and she told me about this one that she just got in her shop : It's a Secret! by John Burningham.

It's a wonderful, magical story that takes the reader on a secret adventure with an ordinary house cat named Malcom and a little girl. Marie Elaine wonders where her cat goes at night and finally catches him decked out in a fancy outfit, sneaking food from the fridge! When she finds out he is going to a party, she insists on going. Malcom agrees to take her with him under the circumstances that she dresses up in a party dress and gets smaller, to fit through the cat door. When the neighbor boy, Norman catches them sneaking out, they invite him along so that he won't tattle. They narrowly escape a dog pack and across a fire escape and over a crane, they finally make it to the rooftop party. There is music and dancing, a feast and gifts for all from the Queen of Cats.

The night is filled with magic, fun and excitement and in the morning, Marie Elaine's mother exclaims "You look as if you were out all night with the cat."

The illustrations in this book are mixed media, crudely drawn, rough, childlike and with beautiful full page spreads. John Burningham (who has written and illustrated more books than I can count) should win many awards for this one!


  1. Burningham is so excellent. I'm happy he has this new book out that is getting a lot of attention so readers new to picture books will look up his many other stories! BTW he has been married for 30 years to illustrator Helen Oxenbury.

  2. So my quesion is: how does Marie Elaine become smaller? This sounds like a great read - full of imagination and humour. Thank you for the review!

    Helena Harper


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