- Cone Cat by Sarah Howden
Howden, Sarah Cone Cat; illus. by Carmen Mok. Owlkids, 2020 [32p] Trade ed. ISBN 9781771473613 $17.95 Reviewed from galleys R 4-7 yrs
Mischievous feline Jeremy wakes up to discover tragedy has befallen him: his head has been placed in a veterinary cone, and he's unable to wreak his usual havoc (or properly clean himself). Jeremy dramatically renames himself "Cone Cat" and mourns the loss of his normal life, but he soon discovers that the cone allows him to steal extra treats, trap bugs, and hear tiny human Ava coming with time enough to hide. Eventually, Jeremy is freed of his cone—but not for long. Jeremy is an Everycat's cat, prone to sulky faces, yogi-esque licking, and couch-clawing. His relationship with Ava, while only marginally explored, will feel familiar to any budding feline fans with apprehensive cats at home. The story is slight, but Jeremy's discovery that his hated cone might have its benefits is a casual lesson in making the best of a bad situation. Mok's sketchy colored-pencil illustrations are static and sparse in details, but a palette of vintage hues, predominantly in yellow, pink, and blue, makes for a beautifully cohesive piece. Fans of David Shannon's rebellious dogs will enjoy seeing another slightly naughty protagonist, and the decidedly diverse cast of humans may make this tale more welcoming for all audiences.