The Cat's Meow

All of you bibliophiles may be familiar with Mark Haddon's novel, "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time." The book, which was published in 2003 to critical and popular acclaim, tells the tale of a 13-year-old boy with autism as he gets to the bottom of a local dog's untimely death.

The story behind "The Cat at Night" is a bit less complex, but with Dahlov Ipcar's stunning illustrations, the book is equally riveting. Originally published in 1969, "The Cat at Night" is one of three children's books by the Georgetown author/illustrator recently republished by Islandport Press of Yarmouth ("The Little Fisherman" and "My Wonderful Christmas Tree" were republished in 2008, and "Hard Scrabble Harvest" is slated for late 2009).

Ever wonder what a cat does while the rest of us sleep? Ipcar knows — and she's telling (although we're quite sure our cat causes more late-night brawls than Ipcar's black-and-white protagonist.) Though the plot is simple and sweet, Ipcar's bold, striking graphics are the real star here. She paints brilliant neons against a stark black background and the result is more psychedelic than any other children's book we've seen. Here at the Maven, we're HUGE Dahlov Ipcar fans, and this is, by far, our favorite of her books.

We couldn't be happier that it's been revived. Even better? That Islandport Press — owned by author and longtime Maine journalist Dean Lunt — is the one to republish it. It's great to see another Maine publishing house on the scene, one devoted to the best New England authors have to offer.

Kinda makes us want to hang out all night and catch mice.

"The Cat at Night" is available at select bookstores and online at Islandport Press.


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