cover image Ginger


Charlotte Voake. Candlewick Press (MA), $16.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-7636-0108-9

In this affectionate account of pet rivalry, Ginger the tabby adjusts to a newcomer-a charcoal-gray kitten. The mood is tranquil at first, as Ginger catnaps in his beloved basket. Harmony turns to high dudgeon when Ginger is confronted with the new arrival, and after the kitten crawls into his basket, Ginger runs away and must be dragged back. Only when the girl provides the kitten with a bed, ""a little tiny cardboard box,"" does Ginger learn to share. Both cats abandon the basket to squeeze into the box, ""because cats love cardboard boxes (however small they are)."" Voake (Mr. Davies and the Baby; Over the Moon) narrates the tale with an appealing frankness that matches her folksy pen-and-ink illustrations and earthy watercolor palette. Ginger's body language conveys his older-cat's disdain for the kitten, while the kitten's alert eyes and outstretched paws show its playful spirit. Voake draws the cats nearly life-size on the wide pages, and fills the cream-colored negative space with oversize type (ideal for group readings). Well-observed in its appreciation of feline idiosyncrasies, this is also a sound choice for children dealing with not-so-idiosyncratic reactions to the arrival of a newborn. Ages 3-7. (Mar.)