cover image Nini Lost and Found

Nini Lost and Found

Anita Lobel, Knopf, $15.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-375-85880-2

Inspired by the adventures of Caldecott Honor–winning Lobel's own cat, the story opens as Nini, the striped tabby from Nini Here and There, spies a door ajar one day, "when the sky was very blue and the world outside was more inviting than ever." After venturing out, the cat looks back on her owners' farmhouse and recalls its comforting pleasures. But the outdoors beckons ("What soft mosses. What great leaves. What good tree trunks"), until night falls and the sight and sounds of threatening animals scare her into hiding. Hearing her family calling for her, Nini eventually summons the courage to dash home. Nini's mood-swinging interior monologue is endearing, and even more memorable are her dramatic facial expressions, ranging from fearful to entirely contented. Lobel's signature flowers are in full bloom—indoors and out—in her painterly gouache and watercolor art. Children won't need to be cat lovers to identify with Nini's tug-of-war between the familiarity and safety of home and the call of the wild—"Oh, but it was great out here." Ages 4–8. (Sept.)