PreS-- A young boy and his cat are best friends; they sleep, eat, and play together, yet sometimes Ginger slips away for a night. Although the youngster tells the story, the basal-like text lacks voice inflexion and comes across in a monotone. Most of Ginger's activities are normal cat activities, but in three instances, the boy indulges in flights of fancy about the animal dancing a jig on the moon or fighting mice pirates or tigers. These episodes are introduced with the statement, ``I stop and think'' in italics, which brings the narrative to an abrupt halt. At the end, the child follows Ginger and finds him looking proudly at a mother cat and seven kittens. Since this is the realistic portion of the story and male cats generally do not have a positive relationship with newborn kittens, the anthropomorphism seems inappropriate. The acrylic illustrations are flat shapes with smooth surfaces. There is a strong sense of design and the style works fairly well in setting the scene and in depiciting Ginger, whose postures are adequately catlike. The major difficulty with the illustrations is in the representation of the boy. With his staring, too-blue eyes and prominent pink mouth, he appears wooden and almost expressionless. --Karen James, Louisville Free Public Library, KY
The little boy who narrates this story adores his cat, Ginger. And why not? Ginger lets him use part of his pillow at night and helps the boy with his building blocks. Sometimes, though, Ginger disappears, and the boy fancifully imagines where Ginger might be. Maybe he's on the moon dancing a jig and howling a song, or perhaps he hops on a ship with tall sails and fights a thousand pirate mice. One day, the boy gets his answer. He finds Ginger in the underbrush looking proudly at a mama cat and her seven babies. Wahl's story is enthusiastically and freshly told, but it is Naava's bold, imaginative artwork that really makes the story work. The pictures fill up the pages and wrap around the text, shifting from the everyday appeal of a cat to the Ginger starring in the boy's wild flights of fantasy. This is Naava's first picture book, but talent like this will be around for a long time.