cover image Itty Bitty Kitty

Itty Bitty Kitty

Robert Keeshan, Bob Keeshan. Fairview Press, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-57749-017-3

With this familiar-seeming paper-over-board book, Keeshan, better known as Captain Kangaroo, launches a new series starring a calico kitten. Itty Bitty Kitty's pursuit of a butterfly puts her into sudden peril: she barely escapes the clutches of various forest animals and gets drenched in a thunderstorm. She then seeks refuge in a big city hotel and is adopted by the kindly staff; whether she will be similarly welcomed by the stern hotel manager, Mr. Dunhoffer, becomes the first installment's cliffhanger. Keeshan (Alligator in the Basement) has a congenial authorial voice, but the narrative feels as labored as the book's overly cute title--Itty Bitty Kitty gets chased by not one but four animals, and then suffers even more misadventures (getting caught in a revolving door at the hotel, disrupting the breakfast buffet). Maday's illustrations aim for sweetness but are for the most part woefully wooden. While Itty Bitty's perky, cute-as-a-button appearance calls to mind the feline heroines of vintage Golden Books, she never comes to life, even in her most dire moments; there's a disconcerting stiffness to the human characters as well. All ages. (Apr.)