cover image The Three-Legged Cat: 9

The Three-Legged Cat: 9

Margaret Mahy / Author, Jonathan Allen / Illustrator Viking Ch

The award-winning author of The Changeover and The Tricksters scores another triumph with this mirthful escapade. As he dozes curled up in his habitual ball, a three-legged cat named Tom dreams of traveling to faraway lands. But to his owner, Mrs. Gimble, a widow who prides herself on her respectability, wanderlust is a dangerous thing. It's bad enough that Tom follows her ``all hobbledy-bobbledy'' around the house--no need for him to take after her brother Danny, a no-goodnik drifter. Mahy's prose is droll and dextrous, filled with winning wordplay; indeed, Danny's ``revolting, molting Russian hat'' plays a pivotal role in the plot. When Danny comes to visit, cat and hat are accidentally switched--to the eventual great satisfaction of all parties. Allen's ( The Great White Man-Eating Shark ) large-scale, cartoony illustrations serve up a deliciously bizarre, out-of-kilter world peopled by flat, pop-eyed characters. Especially canny are the images of the stubble-faced Danny doffing his offending topper to reveal a bald pate, and later donning cat instead of hat as he sets out to see the world. Ages 3-8. (May)