Ballet Cat: The Totally Secret Secret

illus. by Bob Shea. 56p. Disney. May 2015. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781484713785.
RedReviewStarPreS-Gr 2—Ballet Cat and Sparkles the Pony are great friends. One day, when choosing what to play, Sparkles picks making crafts. "Yay! Crafts!" says Ballet Cat, until she has second thoughts. She loves to leap and dance, and leaping with scissors is not a good idea. Then, Sparkles suggests checkers. "Yes! Checkers!" says Ballet Cat. But then she decides that their dance kicks might knock over the checkerboard. What about selling lemonade? "The lemonade will splash when we spin," says Ballet Cat. There seems to be only one activity that goes with leaping, kicking, and spinning. "We could play ballet," suggests Sparkles unenthusiastically. The problem is, they play ballet every day, and Ballet Cat is slow in noticing that Sparkles is not at all interested. Sparkles is acting glum and has a "secret secret," namely that he sometimes does not like ballet. He is afraid that revealing this fact will mean they are no longer best friends. But Ballet Cat has a secret of her own. There is something that she loves even more than ballet: Sparkles. In the last panel, they are happily playing checkers. This early reader has simple, vivacious cartoon artwork done in inks with digital enhancements. Shea's signature style and bright bold colors add to the fun. Although the text is somewhat sophisticated and the dialogue is entirely in word balloons, the humor and theme of friendship and sharing will have broad appeal beyond the beginning reader set.
VERDICT Move over Elephant and Piggie!

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