Mr. Pusskins is a giant, grumpy lump of brown fur. He seems to wear a permanent scowl, but this does nothing to dampen the spirits of little Emily, who adores her pet, preening and playing with the ever-so-cantankerous cat.

Here is a fun fable about always wanting more and not appreciating what you have. Mr. Pusskins never listens to Emily's bedtime stories: The girl's constant babbling, ÔBlah-de-blah, blah, blah,' bored his whiskers off. He wanted more than this dull life. (One might worry that Mr. Pusskins is having a midlife crisis!) Such discontent, of course, is how Mr. Pusskins makes his big mistake. One night he sneaks out through the kitty door, carousing through the night with the Pesky Cat Gang. Things are glorious for a while, with much midnight meowing and exploring of trash cans. As Mr. Pusskins notes, Life without Emily was such naughty fun. After a while, though, reality not to mention rain and cold sets in. Mr. Pusskins realizes that his new friends actually aren't very nice, and he's lonely. That's when he sees a Lost poster featuring his own scowling face. He realizes how bad-tempered his photograph looks, and how nice Emily had always been despite his meanness. Pusskins manages to make a woeful, contrite call home, and a joyful reunion takes place. This is a cheerful little morality tale, briskly told, which children will lap up like Mr. Pusskins' bowl of milk. Sam Lloyd's bright illustrations are what make the story. Ms. Lloyd is one of those artists who have the talent to infuse relatively simple drawings with great expressions and emotions. Mr. Pusskins' frowns and frettings are hilariously grumpy, while Emily remains bright-eyed and adoring no matter what. This frolicking feline's midnight romps are evilly delicious, but later his downtrodden look of remorse fills a two-page spread. This is a lively, fun book that would make even sour Mr. Pusskins smile.

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