Kit & Kaboodle

illus. by Rosemary Wells. 40p. Holt/Godwin Bks. May 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781250130754.
PreS-K—An odd offering from the prolific Wells. Three short tales feature twin kittens, Kit and Kaboodle (K&K), their parents, and a devious little mouse named Spinka. In the first story, the twins get socks from their grandma, but the sneaky rodent steals the socks from the washing machine. In the second, she swipes baseballs from the bag right before Kit and Kaboodle go play baseball with their dad, and then makes off with a muffin mysteriously called "blimpie." In the third, the critter uses up all of Mama Cat's Parisian bubble bath during K&K's bathtime and uses their electric toothbrush. As "Kit and Kaboodle never made any trouble," they aren't blamed for any of Spinka's doings. The feline family members hardly notice the mouse's misdeeds or the mouse, which makes her acts strangely passive aggressive—Spinka mostly gets mad about being excluded when the cats don't even seem to know she exists. This indifference makes her seem like an imaginary character, but alas she appears to be a real, if somewhat boring, nuisance. Wells's signature illustrations feature wide-eyed almost invariably smiling characters. Frames, word balloons, and solid-colored backgrounds make some pages feel cluttered.
VERDICT These bland and largely pointless tales lack Wells's usual deft touch at understanding and depicting compelling and realistic child behavior. A supplementary purchase at best.

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