cover image Max Attacks

Max Attacks

Kathi Appelt, illus. by Penelope Dullaghan. Atheneum/Dlouhy, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4814-5146-8

Max the cat lurks under the couch, head to the ground, tail lashing. “This is Max. He attacks.” Everything is fair game. He side-eyes the family hound, then leaps for the goldfish bowl. “Max’s paws are made for pounces./ Max’s legs are built for trounces.” “But HOLD ON,” now a green lizard on the window screen draws his attention. The casualties pile up—vases knocked over, curtains pulled down on the dog (“Max, one./ Dog, none.”), dozens of dirty socks. Appelt (Angel Thieves) writes with catlike flexibility and bounce, appealing to the senses (“His tummy growls. He’s got the munchies”) as Max turns his domestic surroundings into feline chaos. Newcomer Dullaghan colors Max a dashing blue with scribbly black stripes, a choice that, alongside his red collar, the orange fish, and the pea-green drapes, highlights the action against clean white backdrops. The fun is in watching Max give in to every impulse to wreak havoc—and in the final triumph of the goldfish he plagues throughout: “Max, none/ Fish, six plus one.” Ages 4–8. [em](June) [/em]