cover image Kindergarten Cat

Kindergarten Cat

J. Patrick Lewis, illus. by Ailie Busby, Random/Schwartz & Wade, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-375-84475-1

A cute stray orange kitty cat is adopted by a very lucky kindergarten class and quickly becomes the focus of everyone's attention. But when the children note that Tinker Toy, as she's dubbed, doesn't have many talents beyond sleeping and tail-chasing, Teacher sees a pedagogic opportunity ("I think/ Anyone can learn./ Let's give Tinker Toy/ Her kindergarten turn"). Sure enough, with a little imagination on the part of her exuberant human classmates, Tinker Toy becomes a model student. Busby's (The Quiet Woman and the Noisy Dog) naïf mixed-media illustrations and wide-eyed, round-headed cast of characters may strike readers of kindergarten age as babyish, and Lewis's (Skywriting: Poems to Fly) rhymes are sometimes awkwardly constructed (" ‘Why, little Tinker Toy,'/ Teacher said, ‘she's a whiz!/ She's a Thinker Tinker Toy/ Kind of cat, she is.' "). But seeing Tinker Toy happily settle into her cozy new crayon-strewn digs is sure to make preschoolers purr. Ages 3–10. (July)