cover image Kate, the Cat and the Moon

Kate, the Cat and the Moon

David Almond, , illus. by Stephen Lambert. . Doubleday, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-385-74691-5

Almond (Skellig ) ventures into the picture book genre with this small, lyric gem. "Once, in a shining night," the tale begins, as young Kate, summoned by a feline friend, becomes a cat herself. Lambert (Secrets in the Mist ) depicts her transformation in the time it takes to run downstairs ("jump, jump, jump, jump!") with a quartet of time-lapse illustrations in a kind of windowpane view. The two cats pay a call on the moon, whose giant cat-face mirrors theirs ("It licked its tiny sharp teeth with its tiny rough tongue") and, in a full-bleed gatefold, Kate the cat and her companions fly over smaller figures of her Mum and Dad on a heart-shaped lake, and over her grandparents, captured in their youth, dancing in a curious, turreted plaza. It turns out the cats are drifting through Kate's family's dreams. The story ends with a deliciously eerie moment. "Next day the talk was all of dreams," states the text, as the family gathers for breakfast. " 'I danced all night long with Grandpa at the Roxy!' 'Did you dream, Kate?' 'Meow,' " says the girl, with a hint of a smile. Lambert's paintings gracefully straddle the line between fantasy and reality. Fields of pink flowers and green plowed pastures under moonlit full, flossy clouds confer the feeling of both flying and dreaming. Ages 4-8. (Aug.)