cover image A Beautiful Feast for a Big King Cat

A Beautiful Feast for a Big King Cat

John Archambault. HarperCollins Publishers, $14.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-06-022903-0

Each time the small mouse teases the cat--`` Big cat, big cat, / catch me if you can! ''--he is saved by his intrepid mother, who yanks the cat's tail or tweaks his nose with the fireplace tongs. The third time around, however, the cat takes a shortcut and catches his prey. The little mouse doesn't despair. Rather, he ``starts to think,'' then tempts the cat with visions of ``fried chicken bones /with catnip crust . . . / and plump juicy livers / in sweet sugar dust''; when the cat closes his eyes to contemplate the feast of which he thinks himself worthy, the mouse escapes. Archambault and Martin's rambunctious plot and lively, rhymed verse are perfectly complemented by the slapstick in Degen's detailed and faintly Victorian illustrations. The cat, both menacing and comical, lies in a yellow waistcoat on a chaise lounge reading The Feline Times --``Kitty Crisis: Litter Supply Boxed In''--while the cozy mouse house hums with domesticity. As rhythmic as Archambault and Martin's Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and as endearing as Degen's Jesse Bear books. Ages 3-8. (June)