A boy and a new pet stake out their boundaries in this lightweight picture book. When Roger's mother adopts an orange cat named Marmalade, the youngster has a tough time adjusting: the fat feline takes over Roger's territory, hissing and snarling at every turn. Roger voices his frustration--until his pushy neighbor Alison proves to be an even bigger problem than Marmalade. Much to Roger's surprise, the cat comes to his aid and boy and feline begin a tenuous friendship. Kulling's first book offers an on-target glimpse of a child's need for both independence and attention, as Roger tries to deal with his problems on his own but eventually learns new strategies. Ayliffe's snazzy torn-paper collages exude a surprising energy considering this medium's typically flat composition. Primarily pastel backgrounds let Marmalade stand out in all her orange glory. Ages 3-8. (Oct.)
School Library Journal
PreS-K-- Roger does not get off to a good start with the family's new large orange cat. First she usurps his bed, then his chair, and finally, his fire truck. But when Marmalade quickly frightens away the bully next door, Roger learns that a friendly cat can be a definite asset. Young listeners should enjoy this welcome offering from a new picture book author. It presents a refreshing change from the familiar ``instant bonding between child and pet'' stories while, at the same time, gives a wry observation of the way cats first establish superiority and then offer loyalty. The colorful torn-paper collages are great and effectively reinforce the action. --Valerie F. Patterson, Queens Borough Public Library, NY
Some children have problems with new pets, and young Roger is no exception. He doesn't like it that Marmalade the cat sits in his chair, commandeers his fire truck, and even scratches him. But when an older child, Alison, takes over the fire truck, it is Marmalade to the rescue, growling and hissing and generally protecting the family honor. The message of friendship found is delightfully portrayed in bright collages that are more intricate than their simple shapes suggest. Look closely and see the patterning on the children's clothes and the hues of Marmalade's fur. These are pictures that will work well in story hour, too.