cover image The Cat in the Rhinestone Suit

The Cat in the Rhinestone Suit

John Carter Cash, illus. by Scott Nash. S&S/Little Simon Inspirations, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4169-7483-3

Flashily dressed cowboy animals and even flashier typography give high visual interest to Cash’s (Daddy Loves His Little Girl) rhyming western tale. Nash’s (Catch That Baby!) animals are heavily outlined and cross-hatched, and the old-fashioned lettering makes the pages look like a series of “Wanted” posters. Cash makes some odd word choices in service of his unusual A-A-A-B rhyme scheme (bandicoot for suit, Bombay with sway), and although the results can be halting, the lines land with a satisfying thunk. The feud between the cat and his rattlesnake adversary, Del Moore, goes back to kittenhood, when Del Moore grabbed the cat’s catnip ball. But now the cat and his friends are dangling inches from certain death, and Del Moore generously extends his tail to them: “Would it be crazy to say/ they’d still be hanging today/ had Del Moore not passed their way/ and offered them some help?” The treacly ending—“To be a fine friend indeed/ is to lend to a friend in need”—is accompanied by enough manly cowboy action to keep it from sappiness. Ages 4–8. (May)