cover image Meow!


Katya Arnold, Vladimir Grigorievich Suteev. Holiday House, $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8234-1361-4

With their thick applications of tertiary colors, oscillating backgrounds and heavy, ragged black outlines reminiscent of linoleum-block printing, Arnold's illustrations are nothing if not compelling; they also reflect a goodnatured and jazzy comic verve. The story, like the artist's previous Duck, Duck, Goose?, is based on a popular Russian children's book by Vladimir Grigorievich Suteev (considered Russia's answer to Walt Disney, according to an author's note). A floppy young spaniel, awakened from his nap by a meow, goes in search of the noisemaker. In a series of misadventures, the always undaunted Puppy discovers that different animals--a rooster, a bee, a frog and others--make different sounds. The cat, who has been spying on Puppy the whole time (children should have fun spotting her mischievous face), finally makes a grand, meowing entrance through a window; flanked by flapping fuchsia curtains, she's a vision of feline fury, with acid-green eyes and tangerine fur. Hisses and barks are traded across a bravura, full-bleed spread that packs enough visual wattage to light up a small city. The typeface, playful and colorful wherever a sound is concerned, goes for broke in this scene as well. The book ends with a nice tease: the now-satisfied Puppy settles back into his nap, only to hear another new sound: ""Mooo!"" Ages 6 mos.-4 yrs. (Apr.)