cover image Dribbles CL

Dribbles CL

Connie Heckert. Clarion Books, $14.95 (31pp) ISBN 978-0-395-62336-7

Like William's Ninth Life (reviewed above), this picture book explores the inevitable--death and catses. Three cats find their routine disrupted by the sudden arrival in their home of a recently widowed old man and Dribbles, his elderly, antisocial feline. Gradually, through the persistence of the other cats, Dribbles is able to speak of her grief over her master's aging and the death of his wife. ``Goodbyes are always sad,'' Dribbles observes, ``especially when you don't get to say them.'' When Dribbles goes into an irreversible decline shortly afterward, her friends voice their love for her before she is taken from the house for the last time. Heckert's emphasis on the importance of saying good-bye to a dying loved one is affecting, but the dialogue she gives the cats is cloying, and in her focus on the cats she leaves a number of loose ends in dealing with their human cohabitants. Sayles's ( Nettie's Gift ) full-page pastels, in soft ambers and creams, offer a gentle, cat's-eye view of frendship, love and loss; her illustration of the three bereaved cats gazing out the window is particularly moving. Ages 5-7. (Aug.)