12The Barnes & Noble Review
A family of felines spend the day being worrywarts in this zingy picture book from Barbara Bottner and illustrator Victoria Chess.

When Mr. and Mrs. Scaredy Cat awaken shivering due to an open window, the two fear that closing it will only lead to disaster: ” ‘It may fall on my fingers. They will turn blue!’ ” Suffering with their shivers, the Scaredy Cats think about waking up Baby (she gets up on her own after sunrise), and the three wind up spending the day in a panic: cooking breakfast might lead to accidental burns, opening a delivered package could mean broken toys, and lots more. But when Baby theorizes, “If all kinds of things can happen, can good things happen too?” at the end of the day, the Scaredy Cats wonder if maybe she’s right, and they all hit the hay with dreams of “being brave tomorrow.”

Bottner and Chess’s snappy tale will have kids slapping their knees and thinking about courage. Bringing to mind Sue Denim and Dav Pilkey’s The Dumb Bunnies and other stories about kooky families, The Scaredy Cats makes for a fun read-aloud that’s filled with silly behavior and a gentle lesson. Young readers will develop lion hearts with these witty kitties around! Matt Warner

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Kirkus Reviews

The Scaredy Cats have managed to scare themselves into petrifaction in this droll, cumulative tale. Mr. and Mrs. Scaredy Cat wake to the new day; they are cold, but they don’t want to shut the window because it might close on their fingers. So they shiver. They suggest that Baby Scaredy Cat not wear her new dress because it might get a stain on it, or cook breakfast because they might get burned, or drive the car to a restaurant because it goes too fast, or play bounce because someone might get hurt. They don’t want to open the package delivered by the mailman because they might be disappointed, or read a story because it might be too long or too boring, or watch the sunset because it might hurt their eyes-classic Chess bug-eyes that accompany the finger-twisting and hand-clasping in her wonderful art. The slow accumulation of fears threatens to overwhelm them until Baby Scaredy Cat worries that “tomorrow I will be scared and cold and hungry and bored and mad and disappointed and worried and left out and tired-just like today.” She wonders, “if all kinds of things can happen”-a constant refrain, applied in the negative-“can good things happen too?” Well, maybe. A funny and revealing look at our fears, how they can be blown out of proportion and rob us of life’s comforts and pleasures, even if they do bite us on occasion