cover image Black Cat

Black Cat

Christopher A. Myers. Scholastic Press, $17.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-590-03375-6

An unseen narrator follows a lone black cat posing the refrain, ""Where is your home?"" in this ingenious tour of an urban landscape. If Myers's montage illustrations for Harlem paid homage to its people and history, here the mixed media images revere the starkness and beauty of the city streets themselves. As the stealthy feline, subtly comprised of dark fabric swatches with delicate patterns, makes its way down to the subways and up to the rooftops, the creature moves gracefully and purposefully. Rarely, save for a stop at the basketball courts or the playground, does the cat encounter anyone else, yet it never seems frightened or lonely. Myers imbues even the night vistas with pulsing purples, greens and oranges that seem to insulate the cat from harm, and the design plays up Myers's exquisite color sense. In one spread, for instance, a rose-colored trio of apartment buildings enveloped by a fiery sky appears alongside an image of the cat atop a darkened brick wall next to a quartet of glass green bottles with just a hint of rosy-streaked yellow sky in the background. The text itself reads like captions to the striking images, which develop a visual rhythm of their own: the metal pillars of a subway station echo in the bars of the ""playground cages"" and fire escapes; the honeycomb-like quality of the chain-link fences reappears in the backboard of a basketball hoop. Myers thus creates a comforting, familiar world for the cat, which exudes confidence as it answers the text's recurring question: home is ""anywere I roam."" Ages 5-up. (Apr.)