The Little Red Cat

The ABC’s get a rollicking roll-out compliments of “The Little Red Cat Who Ran Away and Learned His A,B,C’s (the Hard Way).” This wordless wonder is the October Baby Buzz Pick, chosen by The Missourian for children birth to age 5.

Don’t let the fact that this charmer is wordless dissuade you from sharing it. Youngsters will thank you because it’s sublimely engaging — a tale with zany line art and lots of white space, by the ever-popular Patrick McDonnell, creator of the MUTTS syndicated comic strip and a bundle of picture books too.

McDonnell’s kitty kicks off the action on the title page when the front door is left open. With a zip the feline is off and running, straight into the waiting jaws of an alligator (a bold “A” and “a” at top left of the page).

Naturally the alligator gives chase, scaring the roar right out of a bear (“B” “b”) that climbs a tree. A hen appears next, in a role reversal that portrays her as the aggressor (“C” “c”). Each page adds another animal or object to the fray, with its first letter shown in capital and lowercase.

Some of the pages have illustrations that might need explaining, so it’s a good book to talk kids through, but once they get the story, they’re sure to ask for it over and over again.

“The Little Red Cat” is a creative way to introduce the alphabet, complete with a king and a unicorn, and plenty of characters hugging at the end, which also includes a key to each word, offered in circles above the cat’s head, the alphabet in keyboard-like order.

Other Baby Buzz Picks this month include “Lines” by Sarvinder Naberhaus and “Mouse is Small” by Mary Murphy.