cover image The Black Cat

The Black Cat

Allan Ahlberg. Greenwillow Books, $12.95 (24pp) ISBN 978-0-688-09903-9

In The Black Cat a little skeleton loses a leg while sledding. Since a white leg is nearly impossible to locate in the snow, the big skeleton takes the little one to the boneyard for a new appendage. While the two are sledding the next night, their skeletal dog chases a black cat. As the animals cavort in the snow, readers can see only the cat, but when they run through the dark shadows, only the dog is visible. In the second book, the dog wears out his welcome with his constant barking, so the big skeleton takes him back to the pet shop for a trade-in. The skeletons try a goldfish for a while, but find it too boring. One parrot, a hippopotamus and a rabbit later, the big skeleton returns, and the shop owner is ready with a mysterious box. ``I wonder what it is?'' says the little skeleton. ``Woof,'' says the box. One minor quibble: children may be puzzled by the relationships between these bony protagonists (possibly they are family, perhaps pals). Bouncing, alliterative phrasing and graphically arresting artwork provide ``spirited'' entertainment in these cheerful continuations of the Funnybones books. Ages 4-up. (Oct.)