Cat, You Better Come Home

Garrison Keillor, Author, Steve Johnson, Illustrator, Lou Fancher, Illustrator Viking Children's Books $15.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-670-85112-6
What happens to an uppity cat when she gets a taste of the ``good life''? When Keillor does the spinning, the tale takes a slyly farcical turn, like the best of his Prairie Home Companion radio skits. Bouncy, syncopated verse (adapted from one of Keillor's folksongs) tells of Puff's rise and fall as ``the Number One TV cat-food queen'' at the same time that it wryly mocks the one-sided relationship between haughty feline and supplicating owner. Feeling underappreciated, Puff departs in a huff to seek her fortune, leaving the despondent narrator wailing, ``CAT, YOU BETTER COME HOME.'' Johnson and Fancher, who previously collaborated on Jon Scieszka's The Frog Prince, Continued, play up the details of Puff's transformation. She is all Hollywood feline femme-fatale, stretched out on a divan in a mink boa, or surrounded by her entourage (``A swimming instructor, and a butler named Bruce/ And a ballet coach, and a German masseuse''--the swimming teacher is a be-goggled octopus, while the butler is a formally attired bloodhound bearing a bowl of goldfish atop a silver tray). The rich, honey-toned paintings accentuate the humor with slightly skewed perspectives; intermittent blocks of text are decorated with cartoonish sketches. Young readers may miss some of the references in the text and the art, but ailurophiles will rejoice. All ages. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/01/1995
Release date: 05/01/1995
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