Day after day, Thelonious Mouse sings cat-taunting scat, skittering through the house, tail swishing, daring Fat Cat to awaken and give chase.
His antics worry his cautious parents, and his timid siblings display neither talent nor inclination for the exuberant jazz that inspires Thelonious to dance and sing. When Fat Cat chases him into the playroom, Thelonious discovers a dollhouse just his size. Later, a toy piano captures the interest of the curious mouse. “The box had black and white steps, but they didn’t seem to climb anywhere. Each step rang out as he ran, hitting higher and higher notes.” That piano’s the catalyst for an unlikely new duet, as Fat Cat (now Glad Cat) leaps up to yowl and dance along with Thelonious, clearly mesmerized by the mouse’s infectious syncopations. Wilsdorf’s antic mice are reminiscent of Valeri Gorbachev’s nuanced animal illustrations, though Fat Cat is more, er, broadly drawn. Plenty of action and droll interior details to spy should capture kids’ fancy, while grown-ups trying this as a read-aloud might need to pause to untangle their tongues.
Replete with scat-y, cat-and-mouse–y wordplay, this is giggle-worthy fun. (Picture book. 3-6)