cover image Flabby Cat and Slobby Dog

Flabby Cat and Slobby Dog

Jeanne Willis, , illus. by Tony Ross. . Andersen, $16.95 (24pp) ISBN 978-0-7613-5151-1

The dimwitted titular hero and heroine of this story eat too much and exercise too little; when their comfy home can no longer accommodate their ever-growing girth, they decide to visit a “cunning tiger” and “wild wolf” from a TV show, in hopes that the animals might take them in (“They are our distant relatives, after all,” notes Flabby Cat). Although that goal is never realized, the quest itself proves just the ticket, as its hardships transform them from out-of-shape to sleek and svelte (“When they were hungry, they had to hunt for food. So they couldn't eat and eat and eat”). Ross's watercolor cartooning displays its customary energy and wry wit, and these frequent collaborators deserve praise for being able to walk the fine line between comedy and cruelty in their portrayal of the consequences of obesity. But the book never quite escapes the clutches of didacticism. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)