cover image K IS FOR KITTEN


Niki Clark Leopold, Nikia Speliakos Clark Leopold, , illus. by Susan Jeffers. . Putnam, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-399-23563-4

A day in the life of an irresistible lost and found kitten unfolds through the letters of the alphabet in Leopold's (Once I Was...) sophomore effort. "A is for Alley/ Where a kitten meowed./ Finally I found her,/ Tiny and loud." Jeffers's (the McDuff books) opening spread details the meeting: a framed panel depicts the curious girl, her mother and their dog leaning between two buildings; a close-up, opposite, reveals the green-eyed tabby surrounded by two pairs of feet (and paws). Enlarged, boldface letters kick off each couplet, which, combined with the illustrations, often convey a playful humor. For instance, for the letter Q, the top panel ("Q is for Quarrel./ Here comes a real cat") depicts a full-grown white cat approaching the kitten, Rosie, while the lower panel ( 'This is my garden,'/ Says Rosie, 'you scat!' ") reveals the true reason for the cat's exit off the right-hand side of the page—Rosie stands between the dog's legs. The cat's antics are so engaging that readers might overlook a few faulty rhymes (limb/again, lives/inside); meanwhile, Jeffers's spot-on illustrations will appeal to animal lovers. Ages 2-6. (Sept.)