Kitty Sweet Tooth

First Second. Apr. 2021. 96p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781250196774.
Gr 1-5–Meet Kitty Sweet Tooth, a young purple cat whose fondness for all things sugary never gets in the way of good dental hygiene—one of the book’s first scenes shows her getting kudos from her dentist, Dr. Shine. When Kitty discovers that Pop-Pop is about to sell his theater, she steps in to become the theater manager and convert the dilapidated cinema into a combination restaurant and movie house. She enlists the help of a scientist named Dr. Battina Redwing and her collaborator, Walter Witch, and together they get the theater ready to reopen. For their first film, they whip up Mega-Expanding Jelly, but an accidental spill causes the dessert to go haywire and soon the guests are swimming in a sea of jelly! Fortunately Kitty’s quick thinking saves the theater from a total gelatin fiasco. Readers will salivate over the magical snacks, and adults will get a chuckle out of the clever film references (Planet of the Crepes, for instance). Despite Kitty’s best efforts, each new snack and movie combo causes a surprising and hilarious debacle that must be solved by the trio of clever entrepreneurs. Utomaru’s bold line art and vibrant illustrations fill each page with lively, magical scenes; eagle-eyed readers will spot hidden details. Text and dialogue are placed in distinct, easy-to-read speech bubbles and text boxes, perfect for young readers. The world is filled with an enormous variety of creatures, most of whom are animals, though Walter Witch is a human with green skin. The plot for a sequel is teased in the last few frames of the story and instructions for a combination snack and science experiment are included on the final pages.
VERDICT A sweet treat of a story that’s sure to satisfy chapter book readers.

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