cover image Wilderness Cat

Wilderness Cat

Natalie Kinsey-Warnock. Dutton Books, $14.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-525-65068-3

This picture book by the author of The Night the Bells Rang recalls the story of The Incredible Journey. When Serena's pioneer family moves 50 miles to the Canadian frontier one summer, she must leave behind her beloved cat, Moses. But the following winter, just when the family is down to its last crumbs of food, a bedraggled Moses appears at their doorstep, bearing a freshly killed rabbit. While Kinsey-Warnock throws in some period details (cornmeal mush, a cart trip, Indians) to flesh out her thin storyline, they seem little more than extraneous padding. Indeed, given the book's lack of substantive information, readers must rely on the flap copy to ascertain the book's period (the late 18th century) and to learn that Serena's family originally lived in northern Vermont. Graham's ( Home by Five ) soft-edged illustrations realistically portray a winsome heroine, her loving family and a daunting wilderness, though their subdued tones and portrait-like appearance produce a somewhat static quality. Still, animal lovers will certainly be touched by this intrepid feline's perseverance. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)