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Tamar Bergman, , illus. by Rutu Modan. . Houghton/Lorraine, $15 (24pp) ISBN 978-0-618-09539-1

In this cheerful square volume from an Israeli team, Modan's (The Shell of Secrets) art takes center stage, elevating Bergman's (The Boy from Over There) minimal narrative—a play on hide-and-seek—and revealing secrets to which youngsters will relish being privy. Intricate patterns (on wallpaper, rugs, fabrics) counterpoint the feline characters' stark portraits in fine black outline with pleasingly flat planes of color. The art initially depicts young Noni's musings about where his mother goes after she drops him off at his grandparents' home (her office as a veterinarian, the gym, a flower shop buying blooms for his grandmother are among the choices). But the fun begins when she returns and Noni disappears. What readers do know—though Noni's mother doesn't—are his hiding places as his parent searches for her elusive child. Here the complex patterns and design serve as camouflage for the young hero, as aerial and close-up views allow readers to search various rooms along with Noni's mother. A hilarious picture of the woman searching for her child "behind Grandma's apron" (Noni's tail exits the right-hand side of the picture) delivers a knowing wink to the audience. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)