OH, HARRY!

Mark Gibbel, Author, Karen Katz, Author, Sarah Massini, Illustrator , illus. by Sarah Massini. Holt $15.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8050-6851-1

The story of Harry, an incorrigible but irresistibly endearing kitten, serves as a comical cautionary tale for anyone considering taking in a new pet. In a combination of comics-like panels and full-page illustrations, first-time artist Massini captures the feline's vantage point with ease, as Harry adjusts to his new home and Daddy learns a thing or two about animal behavior. "Will Harry know where to eat?" asks the young, wide-eyed son, clearly anxious that the equally wide-eyed Harry has glued himself to the fish tank. "Yes," says Daddy with a wise, firm smile, as he places Harry in front of a bowl of cat food. By lights out, however, Harry not only rejects his cat bed in the kitchen, but also throws the family into a game of musical beds (at one point, mother, father, sister and brother all crowd together in the master bedroom) before settling down contentedly on exhausted Daddy's head. Debut author Gibbel's minimal dialogue offers just enough of a framework to allow for Harry's antics in Massini's artwork. The action-reaction structure gets its pacing and momentum from the artist's eye for deadpan humor, and she uses a variety of perspectives to break up and frame the action. This winning feline's antics will be instantly recognizable and chuckled over by youngsters and grownups alike. Ages 3-7. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 09/08/2003
Release date: 09/01/2003
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