cover image The Pig Is in the Pantry, the Cat Is on the Shelf

The Pig Is in the Pantry, the Cat Is on the Shelf

Shirley Mozelle. Clarion Books, $15 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-395-78627-7

As Mozelle's (Zack's Alligator) picture book tells it, when the farmer's away, the barnyard gang will play--in the farmer's house. After Mr. McDuffel heads for town, his animal charges--cow, goat, pig, cat and goose among them--head indoors. They cavort from room to room, raiding the kitchen and enjoying a spirited game of dress-up, until an annoyed Mr. McDuffel returns and chases them (all but the cat) back to the barn. Mozelle's slightly meandering tale features repetitive description, lots of numbers and animal sounds, plus a gentle tone that will likely capture the attention of very young children. In an interesting design, Plecas's (Agapanthus Hum and the Eyeglasses) chipper watercolors unfold the parallel time line of Mr. McDuffel's errand in small spot art throughout busy larger scenes of the frolicking animals. Strategically placed clocks also help readers understand how time flies during this unusual day on the farm. Ages 3-6. (Mar.)