Kirkus Reviews QR Code


by Lisa Mantchev ; illustrated by E.G. Keller

Pub Date: Sept. 14th, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-5344-3847-7
Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Members of a menagerie discover one another.

“Four humans, a rabbit, seven fish, and a rat live inside a twisty-turny house.” There are also two cats, whose domain is the upstairs, and three dogs, relegated to the downstairs. The other animals think this segregation is necessary and beneficial, because “the cats would hiss and claw,” and “the dogs would howl and chase them.” But one day one of the cats decides to explore the downstairs, thanks to a door accidentally left ajar, and an intermammalian friendship is born. The illustrations are rough yet elegant, the twisty-turny house elaborately detailed. While each animal is an unusual color (pink, purple, green), they somehow maintain a realistic, energetic tone. The story itself is a bit bland: The tension built up in the first few pages dissipates quickly, and the exploration of the cat-dog friendship is amusing but basic. Readers are left wondering about the four humans: Who are they? Why did they decide to keep the animals separated in the first place? How do they react to this new reconfiguration of the species? While the text is well metered and fun to read aloud, it’s missing a key component of true drama. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

For readers excited to see cute pets doing cute pet things.

(Picture book. 4-7)