cover image Meow!


Victoria Ying. Harper, $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-06-244096-9

Using only slight variations of the “meow” of the title as dialogue, Ying (Lost and Found, What’s That Sound?) follows an anthropomorphic gray kitten around his house as he looks for someone to play with. “Meow?” says the kitten imploringly to his parents and older sister, holding out a yellow ball of yarn. Their preoccupation with other activities sends the kitten into a funk (“mrreow...”), and he angrily unspools the yarn all over the house. A time-out (“Meow!!” say his mother and father, pointing emphatically to a small chair) and a mewled apology let everyone reboot. Younger children should appreciate the idea that just because others don’t want to play right at this moment doesn’t mean they never will. The cute-as-a-button characters and soft, furry textures of Ying’s digital paintings never become sticky-sweet, perhaps because she has a way of turning the cat’s large eyes into black pools of fury. She also gets excellent mileage out of her “meows”—readers will relish how many emotional shadings a single word can have. Ages 4–8. Agent: Kirsten Hall, Catbird Agency. (Oct.)