A lonely, old man fends off the affections of an increasing number of stray kitties.
“Old man. / Big city. / Pretty kitty. / Pretty little itty-bitty / kitty cat. / Pretty kitty. Wants a pat. / Don’t you look at me like that. / I do not want a kitty cat. / SCAT!” Naturally, when the unnamed protagonist gets home, there are two meowing felines on his welcome mat, and he rebuffs them similarly. The pussycats are joined by a third. “Might have FLEAS. / Or some DISEASE. / Think you might be SIAMESE.” Again he tells them to scat. As each new puss arrives, he offers a different excuse for why he doesn’t want a cat—but sharp-eyed readers will note mementos in his house that hint of at least one cat in his past. With 10 on his mat, it starts to snow…and it turns out, one old guy has enough love for 10 cats, and they’re good for snuggles. Beaumont’s rhyme makes for a rollicking read as the protagonist’s resolve to stay alone is slowly cracked by cuteness. Laberis’ digitally created illustrations, a mix of spot and full-bleed, are irresistible in their scratchy, cartoon colorfulness, imbuing the big city with warmth. The old man is white and balding, with a fluffy gray mustache beneath an absurdly large nose.
It’s the first five minutes of Disney’s Up for cat lovers—but with a happy ending. (Picture book. 2-7)