cover image Fluffy McWhiskers Cuteness Explosion

Fluffy McWhiskers Cuteness Explosion

Stephen W. Martin, illus. by Dan Tavis. S&S/McElderry, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-5344-4145-3

Whoever first coined the phrase “It’s so sweet it makes your teeth hurt” got off easy. The feline puffball of this title is so overwhelmingly adorable that when anyone in her animal-populated world is in any kind of proximity, they spontaneously combust in a cloud of rainbow smoke: “KABOOM!” “This, of course, made Fluffy very sad and extremely lonely,” Martin (How to Make a Friend) observes in delicious deadpan. Attempts to de-escalate the cat’s preciousness—giving herself a bad haircut, wearing a bag over her head—only make her cuter. Tavis’s (Common Critters) explosion-filled illustrations, a smartly paced combination of snapshot vignettes and full spreads, portray Fluffy’s travails with comic deftness, assuring readers that her effect on others is all in good, albeit cracked, fun. And it’s a tribute to the authors’ storytelling skills that audiences will also be rooting for Fluffy’s happiness—which she finds after retreating to a seemingly deserted island (but one still within reach of pizza delivery) and meeting a companion whose own cuteness quotient is a match for her own lethal lovability. Readers newly flexing their sense of transgressive humor should get a real bang out of this. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Ammi-Joan Paquette, Erin Murphy Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Ginger Knowlton, Curtis Brown. (Oct.)