cover image THE CATS OF CUCKOO SQUARE: Two Stories


Adele Geras, , illus. by Tony Ross. . Delacorte, $14.95 (192pp) ISBN 978-0-385-72926-0

Peppy plots, comical line drawings and a large typeface neatly tailor Geras's (Troy) two tales to the needs of reluctant readers—especially those who find felines fetching. Told with plenty of Briticisms, each story affords a cat's-eye view of a household bordering the eponymous square. In the first and funnier entry, easygoing, pleasingly plump Blossom recounts a disastrous visit by Prissy, the six-year-old cousin of his eight-year-old owner, Miles. "She is a thorough nuisance," says the disgusted pet to his cat pals in Cuckoo Square—and right he is. Pesky Prissy falsely accuses Blossom of causing her to break a flowerpot, deliberately makes a dreadful mess of the bathroom and douses the dozing pet with icy water. When Miles and Blossom join forces to try to drive away the unwelcome houseguest, their campaign culminates in a madcap dinner-table scene in which the conniving cat hides a mouse in Prissy's mashed potatoes. A wise tabby cat named Perkins relays the second, less raucous but equally witty story, in which the narrator becomes famous when he inadvertently creates a work of art. Ross's (illustrator of the Amber Brown novels) animated sketches drolly partner the text. A companion volume, More Cats of Cuckoo Square, is in the works. Ages 6-9. (Oct.)