When Meow says ""meow"" everyone can understand his meaning, but no one listens to little Nicole--not would-be author Madame Pastry (to whom Papa Jon doles out medals for keeping her mind on cooking!); not Papa Jon himself who hates to deal with silly artists but wonders why so many paintings are being stolen from his museum; not Babette who can't believe her dear Pierre really painted the most beautiful picture in the world; not the ""angry artist"" Voyageur who goes around muttering ""stupid, stupid, STUPID. . . ."" How Nicole manages to keep her head in the midst of these hysterically absent-minded cartoon Frenchmen is one question. Another is whether Meow's trials--the cat is burned by hot stew, flattened by Madame Pastry's rolling pin, covered with plaster-are really supposed to be hilarious. Silly child, of course it's meant to be terribly clever, continental madness. . . but it comes across as strident, pseudo-Gallic giddiness of the worst sort.