cover image STORM CATS


Malachy Doyle, , illus. by Stuart Trotter. . S&S/McElderry, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-689-84464-5

Previously unacquainted neighbors become friends in this slight, rhyming fable. Although black cat Miro and white cat Ben live across the street from each other, it seems that never the twain—or their young owners, a boy and girl—shall meet. But after a huge storm, neither of the children can find their cats, and they unite in a search. They discover that Miro and Ben have sought refuge together in a storm sewer. Writes Doyle (Cow; Who Is Jesse Flood?): "Now Miro's had kittens,/ and Ben is the dad,/ and everyone's gathered together./ They've all come around,/ to admire the result.../ of the night of the terrible weather." British illustrator Trotter vividly dramatizes how the storm's fury terrifies the small animals. In one of the best pictures, the two cats look up from the bottom of the storm sewer as the glistening raindrops plummet down the dark hole. The story deflates considerably after the tempest—Trotter's straight-on perspectives and literal interpretations add no oomph to the increasingly pallid rhymes. Nonetheless, readers should find the central idea rings true: when it comes to community-building, proximity sometimes needs a nudge from serendipity. Ages 3-7. (Oct.)