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Chris Raschka. DK Publishing (Dorling Kindersley), $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7894-2564-5

This pert and pithy picture book has strong visual echoes of Raschka's Yo! Yes? down to the bright yellow dust jacket. But if the thematic territory of loneliness and friendship is familiar, the development and spirit here are fresh. As a solo white cat watches the animal world pair off (""Two by two,/ he and she,/ curly and/ straight, fancy/ and plain/ ...go""), he droops in dejection, eyes closed, head and ears down, with only the departing animals' tails in his view (""Unlike the rest. Unlucky, alone""). But then he sets off to see what the wide world has to offer. Raschka's characteristically lean text is a marvel of lyrical vigor, charting the feline's travels with a playful and poetic assortment of rhymes, homonyms, alliteration and imagery--from ""rows and rows of roses"" to ""flowers and fliers"" in a spread with butterflies whose wings seem to be composed of the petals of the blossoms they hover above. Raschka amplifies the hero's moods in his use of background color: dull brown and stark white when the cat is feeling forlorn, contrasted with the more resonant yellows, blues, oranges and greens of his journey and a climactic heartwarming blast of pink when he finally finds a soulmate. Raschka's newest offering is an eminently satisfying tale of love (or in this case, like) sought and found. Ages 2-5. (Mar.)