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Phooey on unconditional love. That's the sentiment of the eponymous sourpuss, who can't stand the doting of his owner, a blissfully happy girl named Emily. "The girl's constant babbling, 'Blah-de-blah, blah, blah,' bored his whiskers off. He wanted more than this dull life." But when Mr. Pusskins finally seizes the opportunity to run away, he soon realizes that life on the streets is not what he bargained for. Dirty, cold and alone, he thinks, "Emily had given him everythinga cat could ever dream of... but he had neverbeen nice to her." In the book's funniest scene, Mr. Pusskins literally phones home, meows pitifully into the receiver, and is quickly reunited with his adoring human: "Now both Emily and Mr. Pusskins realize how lucky they are to have each other." Although the writing can be overly literal, Lloyd's astutely cartooned pictures more than make up for what her prose lacks in punch. Mr. Pusskins starts out as a fat, angry-looking oval of orange fur, with a tail that literally bristles with resentment, disgust and naughtiness; during his dark night of the soul, the tail shrivels up and falls behind him like a piece of furry seaweed. By book's end, the harsh black brushstrokes that detailed his coat have softened considerably, and his eyes are as wide and adoring as Emily's. Clearly, it's the beginning of a revitalized relationship. Ages 4-6. (Dec.)Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.