cover image OPERA CAT


Tess Weaver, , illus. by Andréa Wesson. . Clarion, $15 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-618-09635-0

In first-timer Weaver's exuberant tale, a quiet cat on an ordinary Saturday gets her moment in the sun. Each day, Alma hides behind the window curtains and practices along with her Italian opera singer owner. Wesson's (Not Just Another Moose) energetic black line and watercolor wash in velvety tones of aqua and scarlet capture the intensity of the Milan streets. From her window, Alma watches a mother fish her son out of a fountain while passersby purchase flowers, bread and other treats from shops along a cobblestone street. How the feline yearns to leave her apartment and experience the Milan outside her window! On opening night of the opera, Madame SoSo contracts laryngitis, and Alma sees her chance. The cat begins singing, and "Madame SoSo had never heard anything so lovely, so beautiful... [a voice] so much like her own!" Readers may guess the denouement, but that doesn't detract from the fun. Wesson's illustrations show the feline tucked into the diva's wig as she takes the stage, then scenes of the inseparable duo as they gallivant about town. Madame cuts a ridiculous figure early in the story, but redeems herself by warmly acknowledging Alma's role in her stage triumph. A delightful star-is-born story. Ages 5-8. (Oct.)