The feline trio that tumbled through There Are Cats in This Book (2008) and There Are No Cats in This Book (2010) welcomes a new friend—and you can, too!
“Oh, hello! You opened our book!” Resolutely ignoring the fourth wall once again, Schwarz’s three wide-eyed cats catch a whiff of dog and flee, begging viewers not to lift the piano-, closet door– and suitcase-shaped flaps beneath which they are hiding. (As if.) The frisky, flop-eared pup turns out to be a friendly sort, but the hiding game continues when it looks directly up from the page and, startled (“I think you scared it…”), races out of sight. The ensuing search requires lifting a dozen more flaps and a gentle pat from the reader to soothe the cowering canine. Lifting the artfully shaped and angled flaps reveals multiple surprises, from the dog itself, first met lurking behind a sofa, to a cupboard-dwelling dinosaur (“That’s not our doggy!”). Better yet, along with a hand-lettered text, animal figures rendered in vigorous daubs of black and colored inks give the episode an endearing, informal energy reminiscent of Chris Raschka’s Daisy outings.
Eric Hill’s classic Spot books come off as rather staid (not that that’s necessarily a bad thing) next to this rambunctious, interactive hide-and-seek. (Novelty picture book. 3-5)