cover image Chicken and Cat Clean Up

Chicken and Cat Clean Up

Sara Varon, . . Scholastic Press, $16.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-439-63408-3

In this second wordless tale about this duo, Chicken recruits Cat to help with his housecleaning business, but Cat doesn't do so well. He breaks a glass, overdoes the laundry detergent, knocks over a bucket of water and takes a bite out of a houseplant—in front of the homeowner. As he sits glumly on the front stoop, Cat's talents are made evident when he foils a mouse-on-ladybug purse snatching, earning the praise of the neighborhood and making the front page of the Daily News . (“Cat Saves the Day! ” shouts the headline. “ 'The best,' says pal,” continues the subhead.) Varon's sensitivity for the feelings of her characters—expertly projected through their gangly limbs and expressive googly eyes—gives the story depth, while the full-bleed spreads and panels jump from the page like movie stills. The tension between Chicken's brisk efficiency and Cat's well-intentioned but flawed efforts is not unlike that between assertive parents and distractible children; young readers will see themselves in the pet-loving dreamer, Cat, and revel in his moment of triumph. Ages 4–8. (Mar.)