Another beguiling farmyard drama from the author, most recently, of The Fox-Busters (p. 1605/C-213). Martin, a kitten, catches mice with instinctive ease but is revolted by the idea of consuming them. Despite his siblings' contempt and his mother's asperity concerning his prospects, he not only abstains from hunting but secretly adopts a mouse, Drusilla, as a pet, keeping her in an old bathtub. Drusilla, who is pregnant and soon gives birth, is at first alarmed, then indignant; still, she makes the best of her situation, bossing Martin in a motherly way and even getting him to bring her a mate. The mice finally escape, and Martin gets a taste of what their experience has been like when he also becomes a house pet. In his turn, he escapes and returns to the farm, a wiser and more self-reliant cat. King-Smith has an unerring sense of animal nature, providing a solid basis for the charmingly logical development of his fantasies. Each of his beasts, from stolid cow to irascibly overintelligent pig, is a comic caricature of its kind as well as of human nature. Childlike Martin is appropriately naive in his belief that he can own another creature, and his dad's growing pride in his pluck and independence is neatly drawn; Martin's realization that no one should be shut up, and his renewed friendship with Drusilla (now free), make just the right conclusion. A lively read-aloud, studded with chuckles and surprises.