In her first picture book, the author of Granny Was A Buffer Girl (1988, Carnegie Medal) describes a common event--a second cat's arrival in a comfortable household, as well as the first cat's initial dismay and eventual contentment with the interloper--with considerable artistry: lilting verse with cleverly echoing sounds; a series of actions that are both perfectly cat-like and a perfect parallel to human behavior ("The new cat ran upstairs,/lost and scared,/squeezing under dusty beds and sneezing there. /Paddiwak howled on the garden wall. 'I'm never, never, never goinghome at all'"). Illustrator O'Brien makes a splendid debut with her cats, scrupulously drawn (though she's better at eyes and facial expressions than at bodies and movement); she expands the text with many entrancing bits in the background, including the antics of mice and other small creatures. Much better than the familiar old cat book.