One Moon, Two Cats

Laura Godwin, illus. by Yoko Tanaka. S&S/Atheneum, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4424-1202-6
Tanaka's (The Magician's Elephant) atmospheric paintings portray a pair of cats who spend their nights in the same way, under the same moon, though they never meet; panel illustrations and spreads show a fluffy white city cat and a sleek country tiger cat leaping, primping, and prowling. As night falls, both prepare to slip off ("One cat watches vans and trucks./ One cat slinks by pigs and ducks") and then to hunt. "Cats' eyes gleam,/ cats blink twice,/ cats get ready,/ cats smell..." (children won't have any trouble supplying the last word: "...mice!"). In two pages of spot illustrations, the cats bound after their quarries, who escape to be pursued another day. Tanaka's moss-green expanses of forest and moonlit rooftops simultaneously draw and haunt. Godwin's (The Doll People) verse is economical and intelligently constructed; wit and action fill her two- and three-word lines. It's an interesting turn on the city mouse and the country mouse; it's clear that both ways of life suit the cats and allow them freedom. The reluctance to give either one primacy carries a quiet message of concord. Ages 2–6. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 05/30/2011
Release date: 08/01/2011
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