cover image Cats, Cats, Cats!

Cats, Cats, Cats!

Leslea Newman. Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-689-83077-8

In this exuberant picture book, Newman (Matzo Ball Moon) and Oller (Top Banana) offer an inspired explanation of why cats sleep all day. Mrs. Brown's house overflows with catsDand she prefers it that way. ""She loved to fill her lap with them/ She loved to take a nap with them/ She loved to place them all just so/ And then embrace them row by row."" Oller's watercolors, with their indistinct edges and softly blurred coloring, capture all the fuzzy charm of the capering kitties. All day long the fetching felines snooze and snore, but at night the fun begins, as they cut loose in a frisky frolic. ""When Mrs. Brown was tucked in tight/ The cats would party every night."" They bake, they knit, they dance and play ball, and oh, what a mess they make by morning. Fortunately, Mrs. Brown has the right attitude: ""Oh fiddle dee dee!/ I love my cats and they love me."" The rollicking rhymes give Oller plenty of leeway. The artist pictures cats draped over every conceivable surface, a cat weather vane on the roof and the amply proportioned Mrs. Brown with a lap piled so high with pets that only her sturdy legs are visible. This is a real find for cat fanciers and their furry companions, who will no doubt give it an enthusiastic ""two paws up."" Ages 5-8. (Mar.)