cover image Kat Kong

Kat Kong

Dav Pilkey. Harcourt Paperbacks, $7 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-15-242037-6

In a bold departure for Pilkey ( When Cats Dream ), these two brazenly funny picture books spoof Godzilla and King Kong as they launch the mice inhabitants of Mousopolis against, respectively, a killer cat and dog. Touched-up photographs of the author's pets are set against fluorescent cityscapes and luminous skylines. The texts ripple with corny but kid-pleasing puns (``The Big Cheese tried to catch up to the hot dog with all the relish he could muster'') and shameless gags (`` `What are you, men or mice?' `Mice,' they squeaked''), while the pictures are packed with sly allusions (the mice give Kat Kong passage on the U.S.S. Ignatz ). Dogzilla is the more successful volume, for it works within its own simple framework--giant dog steals cookout food, mice win a playful revenge--and even delivers a surprise ending. The more hard-hearted Kat Kong jestingly raises serious issues (Does morality have a position in science?) without acknowledging their validity. Pilkey's irreverent exuberance is irresistible nonetheless. These inventive books may lack the elegance and soul of William Wegman's work, but they are infinitely more fun. All ages. (Sept.)