cover image Meow


Chris Raschka. Greenwillow, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-06-304935-2

Raschka (The Blue Table) chronicles a search for intimacy from a cat’s point of view. In his distinctive watercolor style, he sculpts the feline’s furry contours in buttery gold, giving it green eyes, nodding whiskers, and huge paws. The cat sighs happily as a hand reaches down to ruffle its fur, then the attention ends as a red shoe walks away. “Meow?” the cat inquires, in the first of a string of utterances that vary the titular phrase. In an attempt to win back human attention, the cat leaps onto a table where a brown-skinned child is writing, landing squarely in the middle of the paper before being tossed back on the floor. Later, it’s the cat’s turn to take offense (“mm eee eee ow!”) as the child treads on its tail by accident; subsequent reconciliation takes time. These home-movie moments entertain, but there’s deeper significance, too, in the way they echo individuals’ attention-seeking and -avoiding behaviors in fits and starts. The delicate balancing act between loving, wanting to be loved, and yearning for independence resolves in a tender rom-com ending between child and cat. Ages 4–8. Agent: Brenda Bowen, Book Group. (May)