Off the coast of Key West, Florida, drifting on a sea of memories, floats Ernesto the cat, wetting his line in hopes of a meal. While he awaits a nibble, Ernesto ponders the meaning of his earlier eight lives, which included running with the bulls in Pamplona and eating 471 of Alice B.'s ""infamous brownies"" in Paris. Then his line snaps straight (""Carumba! It's a big one!"") and, towed by the unseen fish, he is taken on an extended tour of the Atlantic. When the fish does surface--an enormous white whale--he offers Ernesto sage advice: ""Stay away from fishing. Try writing instead."" Cech (First Snow, Magic Snow, 1992, etc.) acknowledges his homage to Hemingway in a note in the back; even so, children will find this plot governed more by caprice than by compelling story elements. Adults and other ""insiders"" (readers old enough to have passing familiarity with the references) will find this a clever piece, picaresque in its own right and possibly a springboard for exploring Hemingway's stories. Osborn's vibrant, evocative gouaches--in frames featuring cirrus, cumulus, and stratus clouds in a variety of configurations--sail right along with the narrative's fanciful tack.