Book looks

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

Here are even more animal capers to entertain you and the kids this summer:

* It's a Secret! (Candlewick, 42 pages, $16.99, ages 4 to 9) -- John Burningham, the acclaimed British picture-book creator, envisions a late-night cat party crashed by a girl and her young neighbor. First, the kids have to be reduced to cat-size and find suitable clothes for the event, which takes place on a rooftop overlooking the city. The mixed-media illustrations -- some panoramic scenes and others just sketches -- are distinctive and dreamlike, a visual answer to the question: Just what do cats do at night?

* Spells (Simon & Schuster, 28 pages, $16.99, ages 4 to 8) -- Emily Gravett (Wolves) gets a jump on Disney's animated The Princess and the Frog with this jaunty version in which a frog finds a book of spells. He dreams of becoming a pirate but settles for a handsome prince. Because the spell book is all torn up, he must go through several incantations (snake, rabbit, bird and more) before the hocus-pocus turns him into a regal, albeit naked, prince. Never fear, a cloud covering his body keeps the book G-rated.

* Uncle Andy's Cats (Putnam, 34 pages, $16.99, ages 5 to 9) -- Need a Warhol fix? The pop artist's nephew, James Warhola, has produced his second picture book based on the life of his eccentric uncle. This one details cats Hester and Sam, who produced 25 kittens, each named Sam and given free run of the artist's brownstone apartment. Cats watch Warhol paint a Campbell's Soup Can; cats sleep on his lap while he's at the easel; cats cover his bed. In 1954, Warhol and his mother printed a book about the cats titled 25 Cats Name Sam and One Blue Pussy. Warhol's mother left the "d" off Named, and Warhol kept the title because he liked imperfections.