cover image The Best Cat Suit of All

The Best Cat Suit of All

Sylvia Cassedy, Sylvia Cassidy. Dial Books, $10.95 (480pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-0516-6

It is Halloween night, and poor Matthew misses his old home and his best friend Betsy. He misses making their costumes together and going trick-or-treating--Betsy dressed as a witch and he as her black cat. Worst of all, Matthew is sick and cannot go out at all. ``It won't be so bad, Matthew,'' his father says. ``You can be an indoor cat this year.'' The boy puts on his cat suit and watches the trick-or-treaters come and go. ``They looked dumb. . . . Nobody looked like that back where we used to live.'' Feeling miserable and lonely, Matthew begins to cry, until finally a special trick-or-treater with the best cat suit of all puts him in the proper Halloween spirit. Cassedy ( Lucie Babbidge's House ) skillfully interweaves Matthew's self-pity with lighthearted banter; readers will empathize with Matthew's pain but also chuckle as he pouts. Lucid, rhythmic language and realistic dialogue bring each character to life in this easy reader--a heartwarming tale. Hoffman's ( Jet Black Pickup Truck ; Three Sisters ) drawings, vibrant and intricate, evoke a suitably seriocomic mood. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)