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*The Perfect Nest* by Catherine Friend, illustrated by John Manders
Also illustrated by John Manders:

Minnie's Diner: A Multiplying Menu

Fergus and the Night-Demon: An Irish Ghost Story
The Perfect Nest
by Catherine Friend, illustrated by John Manders
Grades K-2 40 pages Candlewick February 2007 Hardcover    

Jack the Cat is a mischievous but charming character who has his heart set on preparing the perfect omelet. To accomplish this goal, he decides to build a nest to attract a chicken to lay some eggs. This is the premise of Catherine Friendís funny, warm, and masterfully illustrated The Perfect Nest, which tracks Jackís adventure.

The initial glitch in Jackís plan is that his carpentry skills are so advanced that his nest attracts a wide range of animals. A duck, a goose, and a chicken all end up in his nest and, to Jackís delight, end up laying multiple eggs. As soon as Jack discovers his plan can move forward, he tries to compel the animals to vacate their new ideal home, but they are reluctant to do so. Finally, the voice of reason prevails, and all the animals decide to relocate to the farm, where there is a more space for them to thrive.

Just as Jack is about to reap the benefits of his hard work and prepare his celebratory meal, three of the small eggs break to reveal precious newborns eager to start their lives. The little ones are immediately drawn to Jack, thinking he is their caretaker and will satisfy their needs.

The Perfect Nest is a sweet story with incredibly endearing illustrations that bring Jack and the characters to life. With the publication of childrenís books at such a rapid pace, it is difficult for authors and illustrators to distinguish themselves in the crowded market. My hope is that The Perfect Nest, will somehow get the attention and praise that it so rightfully deserves.

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  Lori West/2007 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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