cover image A Country Tale

A Country Tale

Diane Stanley. MacMillan Publishing Company, $12.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-02-786780-0

An amazing accomplishment, Stanley's new book excels her admired Conversation Club, Birdsong Lullaby et al., in idea and execution. Dear friends Cleo and Lucy, country cats, grow apart when a hoity-toity summer visitor moves into Butternut mansion. She's Mrs. Snickers, who snubs Lucy but invites awed Cleo to tea. Cleo borrows the snob's manner and walks all the way to visit the high-society type when she returns to town. At the Snickers's soiree, the guests sneer at the farm feline and she starts back dejectedly for home. Afflicted by more ill fortune, Cleo is relieved (and lucky) to be found and cared for by faithful Lucy. The paintings portray the pastoral and city scenes and the cats in creamy, ingeniously detailed, soft colors. The most eye-catching pictures focus on the charming Victorian garb that establishes the setting. (58)