cover image The Granny-Man

The Granny-Man

Judith Byron Schachner. Dutton Books, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-525-46122-7

The Siamese cat Simon may be getting on in years (""With the exception of his nose, most of his parts had stopped working long ago""), but this beloved family pet is enjoying a comfortable retirement. He spends his days dreaming of his long and happy life (""full of mice, full of hisses, full of hugs, and full of kisses""), and his adoring family carts him around in a baby stroller and buys a bib to catch the toothless puss's dribbles. But the geriatric cat's sedate golden years dramatically transform when a kitten arrives. Simon's tender care of his perky charge earns him a new name: the Grannyman. Schachner's (I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie) affectionate prose inspires a series of softly shaded pastel portraits of the title character. With his lopsided ears, huge blue eyes and quizzical expression, the creaky Simon is a fetching fellow. The visual riffs on the text will strike a chord of recognition with cat lovers everywhere; for instance, a quartet of images exhibits Simon enjoying the ""heat treatments"" his family provides (basking under a lampshade and on a windowsill, sprawled on a radiator and a stovetop). This story of old age revered and rejuvenated is a pleasure from the ends of its whiskers to the tip of its tail. Ages 3-8. (Sept.)