Gareth P. Jones and Loretta Schauer
This third twist on a classic fairy tale from the partnership of Gareth P. Jones and Loretta Schauer is set in Purry Tale Lane where, up on a roof top, is a cat kingdom ruled over by ginger tom, Kingsley.
He is the proud owner of a crystal ball, so the object says. It also responds to Kingsley’s nightly, “who’s the finest cat of all?” with an assurance, “Kingsley is the best of all, / as sure as I am a crystal ball … / And honestly, I am / a crystal ball.”
One night however, a newcomer, one Snowy White by name, zooms into town and Kingsley is horrified when he hears the Crystal Ball giving a different reply to his usual question. Needless to say he resolves to get rid of his rival, resorting to graffiti and bombardment to let her know she’s unwelcome.
As she flees, Snowy runs headlong into a litter-collecting mouse sending her rubbish bag flying. The mouse, surprised by Snowy’s offer to help pick up the contents of the sack, introduces herself as leader of the Mouse Cleaning Service. While Snowy spends the night with Penny and her crew collecting and sorting the rubbish, the cats continue with their mindless mess making.
At the end of the night, Kingsley is shocked to hear the Crystal Ball declaring Snowy White the finest once again and is more determined than ever to get rid of her. However he accidentally knocks the Crystal Ball off the wall and it splashes into a pond below.
This results in a face to face meeting of the rival cats, after which, something said by the Crystal Ball causes a big change, first in Kingsey and then in his cat pals. Said spherical object also makes a surprise revelation.
There’s a vital message, or several, in Gareth’s tale that, with its occasional breaks into rhyme, is a super read aloud. Equally super are Loretta’s dramatic, detailed illustrations that exude humour and energy at every turn of the page.