cover image Cat Wishes

Cat Wishes

Calista Brill, illus. by Kenard Pak. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-544-61055-2

While wandering through soft, sepia-toned woods, a gray-and-white-striped cat surprises a snake. “Spare my life,” the snake pleads. “I’ll grant you what you wish.” Cat is skeptical: “No such thing as a wish,” he declares. Yet the next three things Cat wishes for—something to eat, shelter from the rain, a friend—mysteriously appear, and the cat’s sideways glances signal that his doubts may be shifting. The friend who arrives turns out to have had a trio of wishes granted herself; some kind of mysterious intervention has brought the two together. Illustrations by Pak (Goodbye Autumn, Hello Winter) recall the work of Jon Klassen with their emphasis on contours rather than on mass or volume, creating a world with shifting veils of translucent color. Brill (Tugboat Bill and the River Rescue) writes with crisp economy, using sound and sense words effectively (“Shuff, shuff, shuff came a footstep”). Her story fulfills its characters’ deepest yearning with quiet magic—one that readers might find for themselves, she hints, if they believed there were such things as wishes. Ages 4–7. [em](July) [/em]