Posted in Early Reader, Fiction, Preschool Reads

Ballet Cat is Back!

ballet cat_1Ballet Cat: Dance, Dance, Underpants!, by Bob Shea (Feb. 2016, Hyperion), $9.99, ISBN: 9781484713792

Recommended for ages 4-7

Ballet Cat is back! She and Butter Bear are having a dance playdate, and Ballet Cat wants to do super-high leaps. Butter Bear really doesn’t feel up to it, and keeps trying to put Ballet Cat off in a series of requests that become more outlandish as they go: it’s like showing off; she wants Ballet Cat to make her cereal and ice pops; she has to go to the bathroom; she has to go hibernate… Ballet Cat is getting frazzled! There’s a reason why Butter Bear really doesn’t want to do the super-high leaps… but will she tell Ballet Cat?


This is the second book in Bob Shea’s Ballet Cat easy reader series, and I can’t get enough of her. I love Shea’s cartoony art and bright colors, I love the wild and expressive text and ideas he comes up with for his characters, and I love how he gets preschoolers. Kids (and parents) will absolutely recognize themselves in Butter Bear, who puts things off in the hopes that Ballet Cat will just forget about it or give it up; they’ll also recognize themselves in Ballet Cat, who is tenacious and determined to get her way!

This may be an easy reader, but it’s great for a storytime reading. You can get silly and invite the kids to dance along with you, and you can put all sorts of wacky voices on as you reenact the dialogue between Ballet Cat and Butter Bear. And just mentioning the word “underpants” in a room full of preschoolers is comedy GOLD, so this book is a win all around. Pair this one with Vegetables in Underpants and Polar Bear’s Underwear for triple the fun, and let the kids decorate their own underpants with coloring pages! You wouldn’t believe how many coloring pages feature blank underwear for kids to color in. Thank you, Captain Underpants, for making undergarments mainstream.

If you’ve never read any of Bob Shea’s books before, you are missing out. Go check out his Dinosaur Vs. series (I’m partial to Dinosaur vs. Mommy) and Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great. Check out his author page for info on more of his books. Check out a few spreads from Ballet Cat: Dance! Dance! Underpants below!

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I'm a mom, a children's librarian, bibliophile, and obsessive knitter. I'm a pop culture junkie and a proud nerd, and favorite reads usually fall into Sci-Fi/Fantasy. I review comics and graphic novels at WhatchaReading ( I'm also the co-founder of On Wednesdays We Wear Capes (, where I discuss pop culture and geek fandom from a female point of view.

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