Dave Crawley, Author , illus. by Tamara Petrosino. Boyds Mills/Wordsong $15.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-59078-287-3

Cat lovers will likely embrace Crawley's rhyming verse, which addresses feline types and idiosyncrasies with unapologetic adoration. Illustrations of cats, identified with such exotic captions as devon rex and turkish angora, along with the more familiar Siamese and manx, decorate the endpapers, while self-evident titles (e.g., "Stay, Little Stray," "Grocery Store Cat," "Catnap") reveal the poems' subjects. Petrosino (How Prudence Proovit Proved the Truth About Fairy Tales ) varies the format from full-spread compositions to the very clever vignettes in "Sleeper," which breaks the poem down, line by line, into comic-style panels, with portraits of the pet snoozing in a variety of locales ("She slouched on the couch./ She sprawled in the hall./ She curled in a ball on the stool by the wall"). Unfortunately the full-page and full-spread compositions do not always match the wry economy achieved in these grid-like panels ("City Cat, Country Cat" is another example of the artist's forte). The overarching theme of the collection accentuates the loving bond between cats and humans, which triumphs over the frustrations felines can induce. In "Mind Reader," for instance, a cat disrupts a girl's study time: "He stops and flops on chapter one./ I'll never get my homework done!"; but once the child starts playing, she says: "I think I see a little smirk./ He knew I didn't want to work." A playful, extended ode to feline friends. Ages 7-12. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 03/14/2005
Release date: 04/01/2005
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