Ugly Cat & Pablo

Isabel Quintero, illus. by Tom Knight. Scholastic Press, $6.99 trade paper (112p) ISBN 978-0-545-94091-7

In a banter-filled odd-couple story, a mouse named Pablo and his feline friend Ugly Cat roam their neighborhood making trouble and eating street cart food (paletas are a particular favorite). Quintero (Gabi, a Girl in Pieces) also shows the pals’ softer side: they regret riding their English bulldog friend Big Mike around like a bull, and they get a chance to apologize when Big Mike rescues them during an attempted paleta theft gone awry. The friends’ keyed-up conversations, which intermingle English and Spanish, can ramble, but Ugly Cat and Pablo have abundant chemistry and personality, qualities that are further accentuated by Knight’s bold b&w cartooning. Ages 7–10. Author’s agent: Peter Steinberg, Foundry Literary + Media. Illustrator’s agent: Anne Moore Armstrong, Bright Group. (Apr.)