cover image Nini Here and There

Nini Here and There

Anita Lobel, . . Greenwillow, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-06-078767-7

Lobel brings back the cat featured in One Lighthouse, One Moon in this fetching portrait of a pet subjected to a move. Nini is first seen contentedly gazing out the window of her city digs, where she quickly realizes something is afoot. Spying a large pile of suitcases, books, shoes and other paraphernalia, the perceptive kitty suspects the worst: “Oh no,” she thinks, “They are going away. They are going without me.” But then she spots “the big black thing” (a cat carrier), which she clearly deems a less than appealing alternative to being left behind. Zipped into the carrier, she meows in protest, but eventually falls asleep, dreaming that she's floating on a cloud, flying in a hot air balloon, sailing in a small boat and riding on both an elephant and a rocking horse—all amusingly depicted in colorful watercolor and gouache paintings. When she awakens after reaching her destination, Nini—and readers—are treated to a breathtaking, full-spread vista of a sprawling backyard, lush with flowers and trees. At first, Nini somewhat skeptically views the local fauna—birds, butterflies, a scurrying mouse and a cheerful-looking dog (“Nini was not sure he was a friend”). But after watching a brilliantly hued sun set and a glowing white moon rise from a new windowsill perch, she curls up in a chair, reflecting that while everything is different, “they did not go away without me.” Lobel's realistic renderings of the endearing tabby's visage reveal a range of emotions that cat-familiar readers will recognize. A simple, comforting slice-of-feline-life story. Ages 3-7. (May)