cover image A Kitten's Year

A Kitten's Year

Nancy Raines Day. Katherine Tegen Books, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-06-027230-2

In this fast-forward frolic through a kitten's first year, the artwork's meticulous and decorative style offers a pleasing counterpoint to its young subject's liveliness. Day's (The Lion's Whiskers) supple text is essentially one sentence: ""A kitten/ peeks at January,/ toys with February, / dreams December,/ and wakes up a cat."" British illustrator Mortimer supplies the calendar kitten with a new pose each month. Her paintings contrast the fur's soft fluffiness with the crisp, often flattened precision of the flowers and foliage. In the May scene, two rolling kittens look up from a bed of daisies that at first seem to be on one level, almost like a swath of gift wrap. The outdoor and action scenes make this book more varied--if less precious--than Mortimer's previous Cats Sleep Anywhere, and the minimalist text centers on catlike verbs (tumbles, paws, chases, etc.). While the china-pretty artwork may appeal more to adults, children will appreciate the kitten's lifelike poses and its gradual progress toward cathood. Ages 4-9. (Jan.)