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Friday, May 27, 2011

Nini Lost and Found, written and illustrated by Anita Lobel. Knopf, Random House. 2010. $20.99 ages 3 and up

"Away from the house,
Nini looked back.
"It is cozy in there", she thought.
By the warm fireplace.
In the tickly yarn.
On the soft couch.
Under the big quilt."

Aren't there times when each one of us dreams of being 'outside' the confines of hearth and home?  Nini is a beautiful tabby who notices through the open door that there are enticements beyond her home's four walls. She loves the blue of the sky, the smell of the grass and flowers and she wants to be there. So, off she goes.

She knows that things at home are good. She is a much-loved cat, and she has everything that she might need. But really, wouldn't it be fun to make new discoveries? Her exploration leads her to unseen places, toward new smells and other sensory delights. It is only as the light begins to fade that her courage fails her:

"Strange noises hovered.
Strange shapes lurked.
Nini smelled danger."

 Feeling trapped by the noise and her fear, she worries that she will not find her way home. As if on cue, she hears soft, familiar, loving voices calling to her. Still frightened she decides that she must show some courage and head toward home and safety. She does just that!

Once there:

"She meowed, meowed, meowed...
The meows meant,
"I am sorry, sorry, sorry...""

And, for now, she is content.

Short, accessible sentences for young readers, beautiful detail-filled artwork and a terrific readaloud. Can we ask for more?

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