LENA AND LEOPOLD by Wiltrud Roser
Kirkus Star


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When Lena stays in bed one day, her friend Leopold (a cat) tells her about Bobo, a kitten who also was once too ill to eat. Bobo, biggest and wildest in his family, ""takes care"" of his brothers and sisters by eating their food and getting into such major mischief as ripping dolls and breaking plates. Although he tends to escape just in time to let the others take the blame, they find him a comfort at night when Mama Mitzi is out. One day Mitzi brings home a little white mouse: everyone plays cat-and-mouse happily all day till the mouse disappears down Bobo's gullet, making him terribly ill. And that, it turns out, is why Leopold (really Bobo) is afraid of mice. There's much going on in this apparently simple romp: the complex mix of affection, dependence and resentment toward the dominant sibling; Lena's exemplary kindness in putting away her birthday mouse when she understands that Leopold is really afraid: the irony of a cat scared by a mouse because he ate it. Humor shines through the understated text, nicely matched by the author's lively, well-composed full-color illustrations. The comic cats are all cat, but their antic expressions tell us a lot about people as well; Lena is a solid, sensible, but mischievous-looking child that any other child would love to have as a friend.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1987
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Macmillan/Margaret K. McElderry