Nothing

Mick Inkpen, Author Orchard Books (NY) $14.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-531-30076-3
Inkpen's (Penguin Small; Kipper) familiar, unadorned watercolors animate this simple and fetching story, which opens as a family, anticipating their baby's arrival, prepares to move into a bigger house around the corner: ""The cat has gone missing, but everything else is packed up and ready to go."" Well, not quite everything. In the attic, a tattered, one-eared stuffed animal lies beneath a pile of rugs. ""Oh, it's nothing,"" says a voice, and the abandoned creature assumes that Nothing is his name. He springs to life and encounters several animals who jog his memory (""I used to have ears and whiskers!... I'm sure of it,"" thinks Nothing, after meeting a fox). Then when the missing family cat brings the perplexed fellow home, Grandpa produces a photo of himself as an infant hugging a stuffed feline named Little Toby--aka Nothing. A foldout spread reveals the toy's metamorphosis into a handsome cat, replete with fresh stripes, two ears, whiskers and an enormous smile. An endearing ending (Grandpa places the restored toy in the crib of the new baby, who immediately begins sucking on its ear) and some winsome spot art help recommend this comforting caper as a bedtime read-aloud for preschoolers. Ages 3-6. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/02/1998
Release date: 03/01/1998
Genre: Children's
Hardcover - 15 pages - 978-0-7737-2921-6
Paperback - 30 pages - 978-0-340-91816-6
Paperback - 32 pages - 978-0-340-65674-7
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