cover image MOE MCTOOTH: An Alley Cat's Tale

MOE MCTOOTH: An Alley Cat's Tale

Eileen Spinelli, , illus. by Linda Bronson. . Clarion, $15 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-618-11760-4

You can take the cat out of the alley but not the alley out of the cat, according to this cozy tale of Moe McTooth, an outdoor cat who loves life on the wild side. Bronson's (Crookjaw) opening spread sets the larger-than-life scale of the cat's doings. The whiskered star leaps behind a sardine truck while green waves tower over the boardwalk as the silvery fish seem to swim into his mouth from the open end of the vehicle. He prowls dumpsters by day and wails atop back fences after dark. One alluring nightscape features a jazz club on a violet and blue street where the music seems to make the very buildings sway. When winter's cold takes its grip, Moe gets swooped up by a kindly young woman in a white swing coat who gives him a warm and comfortable home. But when spring hits the air, Moe longs for his roaming days. In a tidy but appropriately warm denouement, Moe and his owner find a mutually satisfying compromise. Spinelli (Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch) includes familiar details that cat lovers ("By night Moe McTooth curled up in the young woman's lap./ By night he purred in the glow of the fire")—and kids eager to own a pet—will surely appreciate. Her short, straightforward sentences nicely set up the tug between comfort and adventure. Bronson's freewheeling oil paintings capture Moe's unique flair and zest for life. Ages 3-7. (Apr.)