cover image Joy


Yasmeen Ismail, illus. by Jenni Desmond. Candlewick, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-5362-0934-1

A bouncing ball hops across a living room, its trail a dotted line: “Bounce bounce boing boing ding-a-ling ring ring let’s sing!” Nonsense words by Ismail (Nuts) voice the cheerful chaos that a kitten leaves behind as it discovers the joy of play; a knocked-over laundry rack and festoons of red yarn testify to earlier exuberance. The mother cat watches as the ball boinks across the room, ringing a metal lampshade and bonking a Great Dane’s ears (“I feel joy!” says the kitten, following it). Then the kitten trips, slips, bounces down a flight of stairs: “Crash bang wallop bonk-a-donk donk ow.” The mother cat is on the scene in a flash: “Now, look at me. Are you all right?/ Did you get a little fright?” She licks her kitten and hoists it back to bed for cuddling. Reassured, the kitten is restored in a moment and ready to play. Feather-light artwork by Desmond (The Elephant) comprises dashes of bright color (the laundry), feathery green leaves (of houseplants), and strong, simple forms (of big dog and cat), which invite readers to follow cause-and-effect trails while underscoring the healing power of parental attention. Ages 3–7. [em](June) [/em]