cover image Milton


Chronicle Books. Chronicle Books, $7.95 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-8118-2762-1

Graphic design is key in this petite volume, boldly illustrated in black and white. ""I am an exceptional cat,"" declares Milton, rolling on his back in a horizontal shot. ""I am extremely handsome and I have a curious nose,"" he continues, and his dark forehead and light snout appear in extreme close-up, now framed vertically. ""I see everything, day or night,"" he says, and only his white markings and open eyes show against an opaque background. To his unmentioned owner, Milton must be unique, but feline fanciers will recognize their own pets in his routines and his unmistakable facial expressions, from an ears-flattened angry glare to an ears-forward, eyes-squeezed-shut semblance of contentment. Swiss author/artist Ardalan eschews embellishment in her images and sentences--rather, she lets the spareness of each play against the other. ""My days are very busy,"" Milton says, lounging upon a chair; ""I am fearless,"" he announces, but the art shows him startled by a bird. This sort of tale has been told before; what's interesting is that Ardalan tells it so succinctly and that, with so few tools, she creates such energy. All ages. (May)