Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Mr. Putter and Tabby Spill the Beans

Mr. Putter and Tabby Spill the Beans

Cynthia Rylant
Illustrator:  Arthur Howard 
Fiction  Series
For ages 6 to 9
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009   ISBN: 978-0152050702

Mr. Putter and his cat Tabby live next door to Mrs. Teaberry and her dog Zeke. They are all the best of friends, and they enjoy trying new things together. One day Mrs. Teaberry calls Mr. Putter, and she says that she has a “new and fun” activity that she wants them to try; she wants to go to a cooking class. Mr. Putter is not at all sure that a cooking class is going to be fun, but he agrees to go with her anyway.

In the class, they are going to learn “one hundred ways to cook beans.” Mr. Putter does not like the sound of this at all. To be honest, all he really wants to do is to have an ice cream soda, but he is willing to learn about cooking beans because he is fond of Mrs. Teaberry. Who knows, maybe the class will be one of those new things that is enjoyable.

At first, all goes well in the class. Zeke and Tabby sit under the table and behave themselves, Mrs. Teaberry takes notes about bean recipes, and Mr. Putter listens to what the teacher is saying. By the time they get to the fourteenth recipe, Mr. Putter and Tabby are asleep, and Zeke has discovered that one of the students has a granola bar in her purse. Which is when things start to go wrong.

Young readers will find it very hard not to laugh out loud when they see what happens at Mr. Putter’s first cooking class. With great skill Cynthia Rylant builds up the tension, showing her readers what is literally going on under the table while the cooking class is taking place. They will see how Mr. Putter goes along with Mrs. Teaberry’s idea because he is her friend, and they will also appreciate that perhaps it is not such a good idea to take a dog to a cooking class.

This is just one in a delightful series of books that were written for young readers who are ready for stories with chapters.