by Eugenie Fernandes

Kids Can Press, $14.95, 24 pages

Eugenie Fernandes often renders her illustrations in 3-D, using self-hardening clay, but this latest book combines clay, paper, shells, leaves, and other materials in happy collages that delight the eye and compliment the nature theme. The story follows a kitten home during a summer shower. As he makes his way, he meets farm and woodland creatures, also scurrying, dashing, and sheltering from the rain. Too bad the text — designed as a vocabulary-builder for preschoolers: “Chipmunk skitters, Racoon ambles” — can’t keep up with the artwork. The “going home” theme is so overworked that it needs more than forced rhymes and onomatopoeias to keep it zippy. Even so, the collages are a show-stealer. Get the book and make up a better story.

Reviewed by Heather Shaw