How to Be a Cat

Nikki McClure. Abrams Appleseed, $16.95 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4197-0528-1
With their bold black outlines, sinuous curves, and ability to conjure mass out of empty space, McClure’s cut-paper spreads can be mesmerizing. In this simplest of formats—the pages show nothing more than cats being cats, with a single word describing each of their actions—McClure (Apple) is at her best. For “Stretch,” the edge of the page becomes a wall, as the black-on-white-spotted adult and the white-on-black-spotted kitten place their paws on it and push. A periwinkle-blue butterfly, the same color as the words, provides the subtlest accent, alighting on a stair as the two cats descend, the kitten diverted while the adult strides ahead, halfway off the page. Fields of knotted wood grain, a woven doormat, and bowers of leaves provide texture as the cats play hide-and-seek (“Wait”; “Find”), then return home to eat side by side (“Feast”) and curl up together (“Dream”), the butterfly perched on the kitten’s paw. Hours of close attention have gone into this, and hours of close inspection are likely to follow. Ages 2–5. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/11/2013
Release date: 03/01/2013
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