Feline enemies become firm friends in this predictable but potentially pleasing debut.
Bright, blotchy, child-like pictures show a stripy red cat and a spotted blue cat that live on separate floors of a sketchily drawn house. The cause of friction between them isn’t clear, but readers are quickly informed that despite their scrapping, each is secretly envious of the other. Blue Cat wants to be “fast and bouncy like Red Cat,” while Red Cat “wishe[s] he were as smart as Blue Cat.” Each tries to change color, believing that will change their attributes. But eating appropriately colored food, rolling in paint and/or dressing up, although mildly amusing, doesn’t change anything. Working together to get clean and comfortable, however, does the trick (not entirely convincingly), and soon the two are sharing advice on how to be more active and/or clever. Like the text, Desmond’s playful illustrations are straightforward. Multiple vignettes on most pages appear to incorporate paint, ink and some printed papers with the two title colors dominating, but there’s plenty of white space as well. One small portrait shows the family that likely lives in the house too, but the focus remains firmly on the fractious cats.
The plot is familiar, but energetic artwork and a comical twist at the end may make it feel fresh enough to entertain a new generation of feline fanciers. (Picture book. 4-7)