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Book Review: Chester’s Back, by Melanie Watt

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In this uproarious
sequel to Chester, the battle of the picture-book makers continues.
Which author-illustrator will come out on top — Chester or M?lanie Watt
— is anybody’s guess This time, there’s no denying (in Chester’s mind)
that he’s the star of the show. His already outsize ego has ballooned
even more due to a spate of “fan mail” on the heels of his self-titled
debut. As Chester sees it, who needs Melanie Watt when they have
Chester? He’s got no shortage of his own storytelling ideas. With heavy
paw and red marker, this control-freak cat does not hesitate to commit
them to paper. When Chester starts acting far too Hollywood, Melanie
calls an open audition to replace the high-maintenance feline. This
isn’t a move that Chester will take lying down. Get ready for a seesaw
comedy of dueling author-illustrators. Who will come out on top is
anybody’s guess.

***

It is a cute idea to have a cat that wants fame and fortune and is impossible to work with.  The story was narrated by both the author and by Chester, which makes it difficult to read out loud.  I’ve seen quite a few books like this lately, and I have had a difficult time with all of them.  They are really hard to read to a young child and have them understand what is going on.

My daughter hopped off my lap and walked away from the story about 3/4 of the way through.  I think that it just wasn’t a topic (the making of a book(?) star) that interested her.  I did finish reading it myself, however.

I thought that the jokes were pretty funny.  Chester was mischievous, and the illustrations were fantastic.  I really liked the way “open auditions” were held for the role of Chester and a bunch of animals dressed up in Chester outfits showed up for it.  I think that this book would be better for older children that still appreciate picture books and can read it on their own.  

Reading level: Ages 4 and up
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Kids Can Press, Ltd.; First Edition edition (September 1, 2008)

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