cover image Rupert Can Dance

Rupert Can Dance

Jules Feiffer. FSG/di Capua, $17.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-374-36363-5

Rupert is a gaunt, angular cat with a connoisseur’s eye who loves to watch his owner, Mandy, dance. What Mandy doesn’t know is that after she goes to sleep, Rupert dances, too, alone in the bedroom, leaping and twirling. He has no intention of revealing his skill to his mistress: “Rupert loved having a secret from Mandy. Cats love secrets.” Of course, it’s not long before Mandy wakes up and sees him, and Feiffer does a fine job of describing Rupert’s distress after his cover is blown: “Immediately, he jumped out of Mandy’s dancing shoes. And he fled under her bed.” Mandy doesn’t entirely understand what’s bothering Rupert, but the way she lures Rupert out from under the bed and onto the dance floor again is a useful lesson in diplomacy. Feiffer is at his best drawing the two flying through the air in a cat-and-human pas de deux: it’s a quintessentially Feifferian moment. And Rupert, of course, is a stand-in for the kind of children who need privacy and time to work things out for themselves. Ages 3–6. (Aug.)