Dayal Kaur Khalsa, Author . Tundra $14.95 (24p) ISBN 978-0-88776-586-5

In this posthumous publication from Khalsa (The Snow Cat), a giant green cat takes the role traditionally played by a rabbi in the classic folktale of a family that complains of too little space. Here, two siblings say their room is "too small./ 'I want more space!' each one would shout,/ And try to toss the other out, into the drafty hall." Every page, save the penultimate, affords the same symmetrical view of a squarish bedroom, a central doorway and twin beds placed foot-to-foot. Green Cat, a teddy-bearish, Gumby-colored fellow, changes their minds. Bit by bit, the cat delivers nonsense items like "A rowboat, a rainbow,/ A little red calf,/ Then, just for a laugh,/ He brought a giraffe." According to the text, the place fills to capacity and gives the children a renewed appreciation for breathing room. But in the pictures, the elevated vantage point and Lilliputian characters (the cat is about an inch tall, the children even smaller) create an illusion of airiness, despite the cacophony of colors. Soupy-green backgrounds dominate the tiny white print and lend a leaden heaviness to the endeavor. Unfortunately, the static layout and undersize artwork nullify any liveliness in this tale. Ages 5-8. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 03/25/2002
Release date: 02/01/2002
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