- Bits & Pieces by Judy Schachner
Tink is an adorable Siamese cat with “a brain the size of a frozen pea,” given to napping in odd positions and eating things he shouldn’t (pool noodles, rubber bands, etc.). When his family brings home a kitten friend for him, there is a brief period of adjustment before the two felines become fast friends. As indoor cat Tink ages, he continues to be fascinated by the outdoors, and one day he manages to slip out unnoticed. While he initially enjoys his time outside, he soon becomes lost and ends up hanging out in another family’s garage until two girls recognize him from some “lost cat” posters and Tink is happily reunited with his family. This is more an affectionate ode to a beloved (if not too bright) pet than a straightforward story, but cat-loving kids will not mind a whit. Schachner’s narrative is gently amusing and carefully constructed, with occasional alliteration giving the text an almost lyrical quality: “So his mother, who loved her boy to bits, had no choice but to take Tink to the kitty clinic, where they treated him with green gloves and a giant red pill.” Tink’s charm really shines in the pictures, delicately rendered in charcoal pencil, pan pastels, watercolor, and cut paper, and the Siamese kitty’s wide, sky-blue eyes stand out brilliantly against his chocolate and cream fur. His poses—lazily snoozing on a chair; violently flailing in the grip of the vet; twitching his tail grumpily at the arrival of the new kitten—capture the essence of his personality and his felinity. Skippyjon Jones fans will also notice a similarity between that character’s appearance and the new kitten that joins Tink’s family. Pair this with Schachner’s The Grannyman (BCCB 1/00) or add it to a cat-themed storytime. Am I recommending it? Yes, Siam.