cover image Switch Cat

Switch Cat

Garry Disher. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $14.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-395-71643-4

The heroine of this story may not be terribly soignee, but she's found a soulmate in her oh-so-tidy neighbor Cecilia's scruffy cat, Ms. Whiz. Truth is, her own cat, the finicky Evangelina, prefers the perfect Cecilia. Though the girls are willing to trade pets, their parents refuse to cooperate, until Cecilia's family moves away and Whiz takes matters in her own hands-er, paws. Disher's (The Bamboo Flute) verse has a natty, asymmetrical allure (his take on Cecilia: ""Swanlike in her dancing shoes,/ expert on the computer;/ well informed about the news,/ no apple cores, no clutter"") that makes for a jaunty read-aloud, and McLean's (Dog Tales, reviewed above) softly shaded colored-pencil-and-watercolor illustrations are especially effective in depicting the frisky, flea-bitten charm of the irrepressible Ms. Whiz. Ages 4-7. (Mar.)