cover image Backstage Cat

Backstage Cat

Harriet Ziefert, illus. by Jenni Desmond. Blue Apple (Random, dist.), $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-60905-286-7

Simon, a red smudge of a cat, reminiscent of the felines from Desmond's Red Cat Blue Cat, regularly accompanies his "leading lady" owner to the theater where she performs. Darting out from the dressing room and startled by a loud noise, Simon streaks on stage and climbs a piece of scenery (a birch tree), refusing to budge even when offered a tuna fish sandwich ("Simon, I am a stagehand. I have food for you. Come down! The show must go on!"). As Simon continues to climb, jumping from tree to chandelier to "perch between two spotlights," chaos ensues below (in one scene, the crew crowds the stage, climbing ladders and trees and waving nets and brooms); the stage manager's wail rivals that of the figure in Munch's The Scream. A serenade from Simon's owner finally coaxes the cat down and into her arms. Readers should be amused by how Simon musses with the stuffy theater world and relieved at the tender finale, while learning a bit about the different kinds of people who help shows come together. Ages 4%E2%80%938. (Apr.)