cover image Niblet & Ralph

Niblet & Ralph

Zachariah Ohora. Dial, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-7352-2791-0

Dilla lives with his cat Niblet. Gemma lives with her cat Ralph. The kids don’t know each other, but the cats do; they meow to each other as they sit in their windows. When both apartment doors stand open one day, an unplanned cat exchange ensues. The cats are almost-identical calicos, but Gemma and Dilla quickly spot the interlopers. “This is not Niblet!” Dilla shouts when the cat refuses chips. The girls’ parents pooh-pooh their doubts, so Gemma and Dilla take matters into their own hands, solving the mystery and making friends at the same time. Ohora (The Not So Quiet Library) is in top form, particularly in scenes depicting the two cat owners’ anxious thoughts as they lie sleepless, one on the left-hand page, one on the right, trying to work out what’s happened. Evil crows might have lifted Ralph into the sky! Aliens might have beamed Niblet up to their spaceship! There’s a gratifying whiff of healthy skepticism thrown in as Gemma and Dilla believe the evidence and not their parents. Ages 4–8. [em]Agent: Sean McCarthy, Sean McCarthy Literary Agency. (June) [/em]