Harvey Slumfenburger's Christmas Present ) treats readers to a whimsical nighttime romp. Marie Elaine wonders where her cat goes when he slips ou"/>

It's a Secret!

John Burningham, Author, John Burningham, Illustrator . Candlewick $16.99 (0p) ISBN 978-0-7636-4275-4

Burningham (Harvey Slumfenburger's Christmas Present ) treats readers to a whimsical nighttime romp. Marie Elaine wonders where her cat goes when he slips outside at night—and one evening she finds out. When she discovers him wearing a stylish crimson jacket and a brimmed hat and plume, the cat admits he's going to a party, “but I can't say where because it's a secret.” Promising to keep his secret, the child begs to go along and he agrees. Obediently, she dons party clothes and shrinks to his size when instructed to “get small.” Neighbor Norman spies them sneaking out from his window (“Let me come... or I'll tell”) and the three navigate their way past threatening dogs (one wearing a pink hooded sweatshirt) to reach the urban rooftop party. A mix of pastel-infused sketches and bold images in robust hues, the buoyant mixed-media art reveals the gala in full swing. Costumed cats dance and dine before a brilliant scarlet sky signals the breaking dawn and the revelers head home. The plainspoken, childlike narration makes this dreamlike tale all the more approachable. Ages 3–6. (June)

Reviewed on: 06/08/2009
Release date: 06/01/2009
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