cover image Princess Penelope and the Runaway Kitten

Princess Penelope and the Runaway Kitten

Alison Murray. Candlewick/Nosy Crow, $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7636-6952-2

The sparkly, embossed trail of pink yarn that loops through Murray’s (Little Mouse) extended chase story is its most distinctive feature. While Princess Penelope’s mother sits knitting, Kitty becomes entangled in the yarn and dashes off. Penelope and her dog follow the path of yarn the kitten leaves behind as she zooms through the palace and then scoots outdoors, where other animals join the hunt. Readers never lose sight of Kitty, so there’s no suspense as to her whereabouts, and while the verse has a lively meter, the rhyming is largely flat: “Penelope followed. ‘Oh, please come back, Kitty!/ The yarn will be ruined, and it was so pretty!’ ” Featuring plenty of pink (in backdrops, as well as Penelope’s flouncy skirt and polka-dot boots), the digital art has a matte finish, which lets the glittery yarn pop. And the rambunctious kitten’s scurrying—she navigates a maze of bushes and climbs onto a horse’s mane—leaves a zigzag of yarn for children to trace. The disclosure of Kitty’s final destination makes for a sweet, if somewhat anticlimactic ending. Ages 3–7. (Dec.)