cover image Pretty Kitty

Pretty Kitty

Karen Beaumont, illus. by Stephanie Laberis. Holt/Godwin, $17.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8050-9232-5

In a big city in wintertime, a grumpy old man seems to be the furthest thing from a cat person—so, of course, he’s catnip to 10 adorable strays. In rhyming couplets, Beaumont (Hats Off to You!) counts the kitties as they aggregate on the man’s doorstep with howls and beseeching eyes: “9 kitties on the mat. /Please don’t look at me like that. /I do not want a kitty cat.” But there are signs that he doth protest too much, which Laberis (Bright Lights, Big Kitty!) underscores by alternating moody double-page scenes of his solitary urban life—taking full advantage of the book’s horizontal format—with tightly focused vignettes that show the current fluffy, cuddly war for the man’s heart. As snow arrives, the man closes the door on the pitiful feline huddle, and readers see, in a wordless spread of his living room, photos of a beloved cat from his younger days. In one, the now-balding man has a full head of bright red hair and is nuzzling his pet. It’s a breathtaking moment of revelation; suddenly everything from preceding pages falls into the place. Now the question becomes, is he ready to love again? Spoiler alert: yes. Author’s agent: the Fogelman Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Anne Moore Armstrong, Bright USA. Ages 4–8. [em](June) [/em]