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Review of Niblet & Ralph

Niblet & Ralph
by Zachariah OHora; illus. by the author
Primary    Dial    40 pp.    g
6/18    978-0-7352-2791-0    $17.99

Gemma lives with her dad and her cat, Ralph, in an apartment across the hall from Dilla, his mom, and Dilla’s cat, Niblet. Though Gemma and Dilla have not yet met, Ralph and Niblet are fast friends, spending their days meowing at each other (via rotary phone) across the building’s courtyard. When each feline decides to sneak out and visit his friend, things go awry: they cross paths and end up at the other’s place. Gemma and Dilla return from school and notice something off. It takes a while to figure out the mix-up because — in a clever illustration choice that makes the whole thing plausible and very funny — the cats look a lot alike, their tabby markings almost mirror images of each other. Searching for their pets brings Gemma and Dilla together in friendship, and possibly more, as the final illustration shows two parents, two kids, and two cats enjoying a meal together. OHora’s text is spare and sly, and his thick-lined, saturated-hued acrylic illustrations provide details about the families. Dilla and his mom are into jazz and fine art; Gemma and her father own a movie projector and like the Grateful Dead and Velvet Underground; they both have record players (and the kids sleep with OHora character stuffies); and their neighborhood is casually diverse (a man sells raspados from a cart outside).

From the July/August 2018 issue of The Horn Book Magazine: Special Issue: ALA Awards.

Elissa Gershowitz About Elissa Gershowitz

Elissa Gershowitz is executive editor of The Horn Book, Inc. She is a current member of the Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee.

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Comments

  1. That’s how we roll here in Fuzzytown. “Casually Diverse”. Thanks for the kind words!

  2. This sounds like my 6yo’s idea of heaven in a book! She’s kitty mad!

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