Backstage Cat by Harriet Ziefert

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I’m not sure what I like best about Harriet Ziefert’s new picture book – an adventure story about a mischievous cat or the behind-the-curtain details of this story set in the world of the theater. Either way, Backstage Cat is lots of fun, especially if you have a budding theater star in your life.

Simon is the beloved cat who belongs to the big show’s “Leading Lady.” When he escapes from his owner’s dressing room, Simon discovers an exciting world backstage: “There is so much to see – furniture, lights, props, and costumes.”  He makes his way through the busy crew and, of course, ultimately finds himself a valuable part of the production. Jenni Desmond’s pictures of Simon and and the details of theater life are full of whimsical details, particularly in the busy scenes where there are some funny facial expressions.

If you have a child who is born for the stage, Backstage Cat is the perfect gift.

One other note about the high and low points of the weekend.

The good part first: I was sitting in Mr. Bartley’s, a well-known burger restaurant in Harvard Square, and this was the sign at our table. Very cool – and I think I was even wearing black!

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But walking through a bookstore after dinner, I saw the movie tie-in edition of The Great Gatsby:

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It’s almost enough for me to give up on the movie before it’s released. The Great Gatsby is one of my favorite books, but for some reason, this cover totally bummed me out – it just doesn’t feel right. Maybe a good review will convince me otherwise…

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