From School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2–The feline heroine of Nini Here and There (Greenwillow, 2007) is back in a book that captures all of the charm of its predecessor. When a door is accidently left open, Nini seizes the opportunity to explore a world that is wider and wilder than the familiar, cozy confines of her own house. The foliage and critters lure her farther away, and Nini revels in their delights until night falls. Suddenly, what was welcoming and beautiful becomes menacing to the little cat. But all ends well, with a philosophical Nini reflecting that there still might be more adventures in her future. The feline's world, both inside and out, is full of lush details that Lobel renders with gouache and watercolor illustrations. Although the illustrations are heavily detailed and full of things to see, the pages do not appear cluttered because of the white space that frames each picture. The white space disappears once night falls and the pictures, suitably, feel claustrophobic. Nini's own epiphany is best revealed by the two window shots that open and close the book; the title page shows her in close-up, sitting in a window, gazing out. She is framed by the sill, boxed in, and safe. The final image is Nini again in that window, but the perspective is from across the yard, so that she is but a small creature gazing upon the outside landscape that dominates the scene. This is an attractive, quiet book to share with young adventurers.Kara Schaff Dean, Walpole Public Library, MA
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*Starred Review* The last time readers met Nini, the beguiling striped tabby, she thought she was being left behind when her family went away (Nini Here and There, 2007). Now it is Nini who is making travel plans, thanks to an open door. Once outside, Nini walks slowly away from home, then moves faster, and before long she is very far away indeed. Reveling in new sights and smells, Nini thinks, “Oh, this is really, really, really nice.” But darkness brings strange sounds, and Nini smells danger. One scary spread shows a fox, an owl, and a big brown bear who chase her into the hollow of an old tree. Now being outside is not so nice; Nini wants to go home, and someone wants her home, too. “Come back, come back, little miss cat.” Nini doesn’t know what to do. If she leaves her hiding place, the animals might catch her; but “I must be brave,” she tells herself as she runs toward home. Scolded, yes, but then cuddled and loved, Nini is glad to be home . . . “for now.” Told with an elegant simplicity that children will appreciate (they might have some of the same thoughts themselves), this is filled with Lobel’s endearing watercolor-and-gouache artwork, with big swirls of emotion and the tiniest nod of relief in a little cat’s upturned lip. A wonderful read-aloud, with the length of the text, the size of the art, and the adventure of the tale all being just right. Preschool-Grade 1. --Ilene Cooper