A confident cat knows the right way to do everything. But is there a right way?
Lucy, a little striped cat in a blue beret, can build a tower, do gymnastics, play the xylophone, eat with a spoon and fork, and fold a piece of paper into a perfect star. When any of the other animals are stumped, they come to Lucy for help. But everything changes when Toshi, a blue-and-white panda with pink cheeks from “far away” (that’s what the sticker on his cute pink luggage says) arrives. His gymnastics are all wrong. (He practices yoga.) His music is strange. (He plays a samisen.) He doesn’t know how to use a spoon and fork. (He uses chopsticks.) And his paper folding is all wrong. (It’s origami.) All of this plays out in the brushy illustrations, the text communicating Lucy’s increasing frustration and Toshi’s serenity. Lucy can’t stand it; she screams at Toshi, “That’s NOT how you do it!” And Toshi simply gives her the lovely pink crane that’s he’s just made out of folded paper. Lucy meekly asks Toshi to show her how, and in return he asks her help in making a paper star. Before long, Lucy has made a flock of cranes and Toshi, a night sky full of stars. More important, each has found a friend. Hofmann-Maniyar delivers her valuable message effectively, with an appropriately light touch that delicately allows her illustrations to develop the conflict.
Sweet but not cloying, purposive but not pedantic. (Picture book. 3-6)