cover image Rectangle Time

Rectangle Time

Pamela Paul, illus. by Becky Cameron. Philomel, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-593-11511-4

Cats magically appear for cuddling when it’s readaloud time, and Paul (How to Raise a Reader, for adults) imagines the ritual from a feline’s point of view. “Oh, good, it’s time! They’re bringing out the rectangle,” says a self-interested calico as her owners, a light brown–skinned man and his young son, pull a book off the shelf. But what happens when the maturing reader learns to handle “rectangles” on his own? As the boy grows, the cat’s brash naivete elicits giggles. “Look at the poor little guy,” the cat says of the lone child, silently reading a chapter book: “He’s just... staring at the rectangle.” Solitary rectangle-handling, the calico discovers, means less cuddling. As the cat pesters the boy, the child’s inattention and a swat away creates doubt for the feline (“Eh, no big deal. It wasn’t on purpose. I get it”) before a final, fuzzy rapprochement ends in an accommodation for all. Placid, doll-like characters created by Cameron (Monet’s Cat) underscore the story’s comforting moments rather than adding antic expressions or frenetic action. With comedy that goes right over the head of the feline narrator, Paul’s clever, self-assured text offers owners (and their cats) some promising rectangle time of their own. Ages 4–8. [em]Author’s agent: Lydia Wills, Lydia Wills Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Claire Cartey, Holroyde Cartey Ltd. (Feb.) [/em]