Little Night Cat

Sonja Danowski, trans. from the German by David Henry Wilson. NorthSouth, $19.95 (48p) ISBN 978-0-7358-4266-3
Danowski (Grandma Lives in a Perfume Village) delivers a low-key story distinguished by rich, memorable artwork. A boy named Tony donates all of his stuffed animals to help the fund-raising efforts of a local animal shelter, which succeeds. But that night, he’s lonely: “His bed felt empty. Uncomfortably empty. Tony got up and called out, ‘Mommy, I can’t sleep!’ ” His mother deals sympathetically with his distress, calling on the help of a cherished stuffed animal of her own; later, a real cat from the shelter comes to live with them. The story is told quite literally, with more telling than showing (“when Anne’s dog howled... everybody laughed”), but Danowski’s paintings of Tony and his mother are as beautiful as altarpieces, and the rooms they live in are crammed with curious objects that divert and enchant. Dolls and wooden puppets are tucked into the corners, bonsai trees in ceramic vessels grow and twist, flowers bloom, lanterns glow; sometimes the same objects appear again from different angles, creating the sense that these rooms actually exist. Danowski’s story soothes and reassures, and her illustrations are treasures. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/29/2016
Release date: 10/01/2016
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