Mrs. Velvet Paw is such a creepily syrupy model of feline smother love that one begins to wonder uneasily just who Ungerer has it in for. But no doubt he intends us to squirm with discomfort, the better to empathize with bright but rowdy Piper Paw who is embarrassed and "driven up the wall" by all his mother's "honey pies" and kisses. When Piper finally rebels in public, Mrs. Paw is so mortified that she slaps him into silence. "Piper has never been hit by his mother before," but somehow the explosion jolts them both out of their distressful pattern. Piper buys his mother some flowers in apology, with the stipulation that "you don't kiss me thank-you," and a smiling Mother Paw agrees to try. As usual Ungerer communicates enough of the bite to make the detente matter.