Pepper & Poe, by Frann Preston-Gannon; Orchard Books, $16.99, 32 pages, ages 1-4.
Pepper’s life is the cat’s meow: The green-eyed feline adores lazy Sundays, Mondays, and Tuesdays. Then one Wednesday, a newcomer arrives. Little Poe is smitten with Pepper, but also takes the elder cat’s toys and plays chase all the time. How does Pepper cope with the new addition? Simple high-jinks and a sleepy canine foil complete this tale of feline rivalry. This is the U.S. picture book debut for Sendak Fellowship Recipient Frann Preston-Gannon, and let’s hope there’s more to come from her. Lots of black, neon orange and chartreuse create a visually compelling story, while readers familiar with Charlotte Voake’s excellent 1997 picture book Ginger will notice a similar storyline. Both are sound choices for little cat fanatics learning how to share space and affection.