cover image I Walk at Night

I Walk at Night

Lois Duncan. Viking Children's Books, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-670-87513-9

Duncan's (I Know What You Did Last Summer; The Longest Hair in the World) lyrical riff on the nature of the cat untwines at a leisurely pace, in hushed verse that hints at the wildness lurking just beneath the surface. The effect is somehow both soothing and slightly mysterious, a contrast echoed in Johnson and Fancher's (My Many Colored Days) illustrations. For instance, a hypnotic image paired with ""I like the taste of cream,/ But while I drink I dream/ Of birds and fishes"" emulates the murky green half-light of the ocean depths; in the bottom right corner, a cat watches as a school of stylized fish swirls upward, slowly metamorphosing into a flock of birds. Using oil paint and string on paper--a medium that lends additional interest by mimicking the rough texture of pastels--Johnson and Fancher lean toward twilight tones. Laden with shadows, the overall effect is dreamy and atmospheric, and makes for grand bedtime fare--although cat fanciers will enjoy it any time of day or night. Ages 5-9. (Feb.)