cover image Comet's Nine Lives

Comet's Nine Lives

Jan Brett. Putnam Publishing Group, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-399-22931-2

Brett (The Mitten; Armadillo Rodeo), a Massachusetts resident, stays close to home with this latest book, setting it on Nantucket. Capturing the island's rustic charm, her characteristically bustling, elaborately bordered art showcases weathered shingle buildings, a gray-blue sea and shell-sprinkled beaches. Comet, the protagonist, appears to be just about the sole feline in a Nantucket otherwise populated by nattily dressed canines. In search of a home--as well as adventure--the roaming cat meets with peril. Snoozing in a bookstore, he is buried under a pile of books; taking a ride on a scallop boat, he's swept overboard by a huge wave; visiting an ice cream shop, he falls headfirst into a milkshake. Though some of these scenarios have comic potential, all eight of them prove fatal to poor Comet, whose ghostlike, winged image is in each case seen fleeing the scene. Brett, of course, makes it all better in the end; observant readers will have noticed that Comet isn't the island's only cat: side panels throughout show another cat in obvious search of a companion. Though not the author/artist's most finely wrought story, the book delivers a visual treat her fans (and Nantucket admirers) shouldn't miss. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)