cover image Cats’ Night Out

Cats’ Night Out

Caroline Stutson, , illus. by J. Klassen. . S&S/Wiseman, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-4169-4005-0

What better way to illustrate the concept of counting by twos than with pairs of dancing cats? Newcomer Klassen’s subdued twilit cityscapes form an unexpectedly noir backdrop for the sprightly kitties, whose costumes depend on the dance (“Four cats boogie, rock to blues,/ in poodle skirts and saddle shoes”). Rows of darkened windows and brick walls are punctuated by fire escapes and hanging laundry, lit with a misty blend of starlight and streetlamps. The dependable rhythms of Stutson’s (Mama Loves You ) verse are reflected in the faces of the dancers. With closed eyes and intent expressions, these hepcats take their work seriously, as they samba on rooftops, line dance on traffic lights, and polka in a city fountain. It continues until they are interrupted by shouts from cranky city dwellers: “ 'Cut it out! ’ the neighbors shriek./ 'No more dancing on Easy Street! ’ ” The cats’ eyes snap open in surprise and they slink off as the sun rises. This should confirm kids’ beliefs that all the best stuff happens after bedtime. Ages 4–8. (Mar.)