Shrewdly, Calhoun shakes off her characteristic storyteller's lilt to tell this straight, and Ingraham puts a realistic fuzzy cat and jean-clad family in the softly lit, snowy setting. Shrewder yet, when The Kid of the skiing family makes a small pair of skis for their ""hind-leg walker"" cat, the animal refuses to use them. What kind of cat would go sliding off on skis, and who'd believe it anyway? Well, when the family drives off after the weekend and accidentally leaves the cat behind, he does and you will. ""The only way was to ski out""--and so he sets off gamely, working up a rhythm by singing a song he's heard from The Kid: ""This old man, he played one. . . ."" En route, as in any natural day-in-the-life (or so it seems), the cat passes a lumbering elk, loses a race with a smart-aleck snowshoe rabbit, chases a jay, and flees from a coyote who is finally slowed down by the crusted snow--just right for skis, just wrong for paws. At last when the cat spots his family's returning car, he hides the skis and flounders piteously: ""Some smart cat."" It's all low-keyed and beguilingly matter-of-fact--as the cat, with pine-branch poles at a stylish angle, skis staunchly along to the tune of his ""Knick-knack, paddy-whack."" Not for cat fanciers only.