A house cat pooh-poohs most proffered toys and gets his comeuppance tangling with a tiny alien spacecraft and its penny-sized adventurers.
Peppered with speech bubbles in English, alien- or insect-speak, Wiesner’s multipaneled tour de force treats the green ETs to maximum upheaval. Their initial celebration at landing turns to mayhem as their craft is buffeted by Mr. Wuffles. The aliens assess a smoldering engine part and disembark for help. The ensuing comic interplay pits cat against aliens as the tiny ones flee beneath a radiator cover. A ladybug and several ants assist them, and the repair’s successfully made by harvesting cross sections of detritus: pencil eraser, M&M, marble and metal screw. The insects have decorated the wall of their lair with drawings à la Lascaux, the menacing Mr. Wuffles depicted prominently. After sketching a game plan, with insects playing transport and diversionary roles, the crew escapes back to the ship. Against oak floorboards and wallpaper prettily conveyed in ink and watercolor, the now-crazed Mr. Wuffles is riveted to the radiator, perplexing his human. Final panels show the cat gazing out the window, claws fruitlessly deployed; ants draw new scenes on their wall. Wiesner truly “gets” cats: An end-flap photo shows that the artist’s “model” for the beleaguered Mr. Wuffles is indeed a household denizen.
Expertly imagined, composed, drawn and colored, this is Wiesner at his best. (Picture book. 4-8)