cover image Cats and Robbers

Cats and Robbers

Jan Wahl. Tambourine Books, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-688-13042-8

Elderly Mrs. Mudge wants no more than a peaceful night's sleep. But a houseful of mice sends up a cacophony of ``squeakings and rustles,/ eeking and bustles,'' and so she tries traps, which don't work, and then a ``passel of cats,'' which does. As the cats start ``yowling and meowling,'' several bumbling robbers (cat burglars?) break in and cause more chaos. A militant Mrs. Mudge sweeps out the entire gaggle of kits and caboodlers with her broom. To Mrs. Mudge's surprise-if no one else's-the house is now so quiet she can't sleep. Avendano's (On Halloween Night) acrylic and colored pencil illustrations are filled with plenty of action. Unfortunately, Mrs. Mudge's sharp face and air of complaint are not likely to endear her to young readers, and the inherent humor in the text is underplayed by the ominously skewed perspectives. Wahl's (Pleasant Fieldmouse) new treatment of an old theme is economical, but the text's uneven scansion and sporadic end rhymes often result in halting, awkward rhythms. Ages 4-up. (Aug.)