ZAT CAT! A Haute Couture Tail

Chesley McLaren, Author . Scholastic $16.95 (40p) ISBN 978-0-439-27316-9

This effervescent "tail" of a Parisian cat is fluffier than chocolate mousse and bubblier than a split of pink champagne. McLaren (You Forgot Your Skirt, Amelia Bloomer!) sets the tone with a droll prefatory rhyme: "To those who speak/ 'La Langue des Français'/ please don't dismay./ My French est mauvais." Having apologized in advance, she introduces her title feline, a gray stray who "roams about town,/ down the Champs Elysées,/ and when the mood strikes him/ he dines au café." One day, while trolling for a free lunch at a fine hotel, the four-legged gourmet happens upon a fashion show. After his claws snag a model's fuchsia train, he accidentally shreds Monsieur Pierre's entire collection; a gatefold enables a full-length view of the savaged runway. Fortunately if predictably, the chic audience adores the results: "So original, exotic, and free./ These ingenious designs/ C'est le 'Rage' de Paree!" Abundant footnotes translate such terms as the celebrity cat's new name, Etoile ("ay-TWAL / Star"). McLaren, who also works in fashion, complements the funny, frivolous verse with flamboyant brushstrokes of black ink on a white background. Etoile charms tuxedoed men and women in stiletto heels, and every designer frock features extravagant accents. Admirers of Maira Kalman's Max books (or of Eloise's diction) will appreciate this livre's joie de vivre. Ages 3-8. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 02/04/2002
Release date: 03/01/2002
Genre: Children's
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