When a boisterous cat descends on Chicago's house one winter night (``Gangway, coming through!''), the timid rabbit is flabbergasted. She gives her pushy visitor food and shelter, but adds, ``Tomorrow morning you must be on your way.'' However, as the cat demonstrates her ability to cook and Chicago begins to enjoy her company, the two gradually become friends. This early chapter book's upbeat text features terse, humorous dialogue between these two endearing but decidedly different characters. When Chicago uses fish fertilizer in her garden, the resultant mess causes her to ask, ``What happened to my garden?'' `` `It was delicious,' said the cat. `A little gritty, but no bones.' '' Waggish watercolors--depicting a maximum of expressions with a seeming minimum of effort--lend charm and warmth to this breezy, unaffected tale. Ages 5-8. (Feb.)
This book of four short chapters sports cheery, spunky animal characters, whimsically captured in color wash drawings on every page. Chicago, a white rabbit, is more than a little miffed when an unnamed cat moves in and takes over. Things take an upturn when Chicago discovers that the cat can cook, but then take a downturn when the cat digs up Chicago's newly planted vegetable garden, fertilized with fish oil. In the final chapter, the two go to the animal shelter to get a dog--Chicago's idea. The cat, totally against the idea, comes away satisfied with a worn-out stuffed puppy, while Chicago sneaks home with a live one in her bag. Although the book contains some vocabulary words too advanced for beginners, once children have mastered some reading skills they will be delighted with the humorous story lines and distinctive characters. This volume seems destined to give birth to a series, or at least a sequel.