cover image Hip Cat

Hip Cat

Chronicle Books, Jonathan London. Chronicle Books, $14.95 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-8118-0315-1

Only squares won't dig the beatnik slang and improvisational rhymes of this beboppable, unstoppable tale. Sax-playing cat Oobie-do takes the train to San Francisco, where he tries to ``make jazzzzzy music.'' But being a musician doesn't pay the bills, and Oobie-do becomes a short-order cook at the Doggie Diner. He doesn't stay down on his luck for long, though; Minnie, impecunious owner of Minnie's Can Do nightclub, encourages him to play a gig, and pretty soon the joint jumps to Oobie-do's tunes. London, striking a very different note here than in A Koala for Katie and The Eyes of Gray Wolf (also reviewed this issue), captures the sounds and rhythms of bohemia: ``Scat, cat. Go, cat, go! Hip Cat daddy-o's got a horn to blow!'' Hubbard ( C Is for Curious: An ABC of Feelings ) creates vibrant spreads that ideally complement the narrative; their unsullied bright colors, smooth edges and serpentine forms are reminiscent of such jazz-inspired abstract canvases as Stuart Davis's The Mellow Pad. Playful and optimistic, this story of dreams--and persistence rewarded--is the cool cat's meow. Ages 3-8. (Sept.)