cover image The Diary of a Killer Cat

The Diary of a Killer Cat

Anne Fine, , illus. by Steve Cox. . FSG, $15 (58pp) ISBN 978-0-374-31779-9

Fur—and feathers—fly freely in Fine's (Madame Doubtfire ) wry first-person story of a not-so-fearsome feline. Tuffy's opening words set the tale's uproarious tone: "Okay, okay. So hang me. I killed the bird. For pity's sake, I'm a cat . It's practically my job to go creeping around the garden after sweet little eensy-weensy birdy-pies." No sooner have Tuffy's owners buried the bird when the cat brings home a dead mouse (for whose death he does not take credit). After another burial, Tuffy appears with the next-door neighbor's pet rabbit—dead, of course, and very dirty ("No one gets dragged the whole way across a garden, and through a hedge, and over another garden, and through a freshly oiled cat-door, and ends up looking as if he's just off to a party"). In a hilarious scenario, the family scrambles to wash and blow-dry the rabbit's fur and return it to its hutch before its owners suspect Tuffy's involvement in its demise. Cox's animated line drawings comically capture the humans' horrified reactions to Tuffy's antics and the pet's alternately smug and put-upon expressions. Fans of this cheeky fellow will meet an equally likeable narrator—this one a crafty canine—in Fine's Notso Hotso (ISBN 0-374-35550-9), due out the same month. Ages 7-10. (Mar.)