cover image Fuddles


Frans Vischer. S&S/Aladdin, $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4169-9155-7

This story about a coddled cat contains few surprises, although Vischer's illustrations are both lively and skillful. When Fuddles suddenly decides his life needs adventure, he's shocked when, for the first time, he's told no. "You're not allowed to go outside," says his owner. Undeterred, the befuddled Fuddles dreams of "scaling mountains and fighting ferocious foes," and when his chance for escape arrives, he takes it. But what awaits is a series of slapstick misadventures as Fuddles ends up plopped into a disgusting birdbath, laughed at by squirrels, chased by a dog, and hopelessly lost. Vischer (Jimmy Dabble) shows all sides of Fuddles's personality: his daring, thought-bubble fantasies (snagging a fish from a raging river or going head-to-head with a bear) contrast with the royal treatment he receives at home as well as the reality of life on the street (er, cul-du-sac). The book's message, though, runs counter to the popular wisdom of encouraging children to follow their dreams: Fuddles begins and ends the book as a pampered cat, one who has learned that staying among "friendly, familiar faces" is much better than seeking adventure. Ages 4%E2%80%937. (May)