A simple, yet delightful, story that is likely to win the hearts of girls up to about 10 or 11.
Eleven year old Isla is cat crazy. She longs for a pet cat but her mum works as a veterinary nurse and has no desire to bring her work home with her. Luck, however, is on Isla’s side when they find the cat sanctuary is full and Mum reluctantly agrees that unwanted cat – Poppy – can stay with them on a temporary basis. Only it turns out to be a little less than temporary and Poppy is soon joined by Roo, Benny and a litter of kittens. Isla’s thrilled but she’s going to have to do some quick thinking if she’s going to persuade mum to let the cats stay.
This is a simple, yet delightful, story that is likely to win the hearts of girls up to about 10 or 11. Animal lovers – especially those who share Isla’s desire for a cat – will easily identify with Isla’s quest to find the purr-fect reason to adopt a family cat. They’ll also easily recognise Isla’s relationship with her two best friends – Grace and Ayesha – and the family dynamics between the three siblings in the story.
The characters aren’t particularly three dimensional and the plot isn’t complicated but this is, perhaps, one of the book’s strengths. Many stories with subject matter suitable for pre-teen readers can be difficult to follow for less able readers with more literary language and highly complex plotlines. This story, in contrast, is easy to follow and understand without feeling young.
Black and white illustrations break up the text every few pages. These are appealing without being unduly childish and subtly add to the length of the book so it feels right for a middle grade reader.
The story touches on a few important issues from Gran’s grief at the loss of her husband to the warning Isla’s older sister, Tilda, receives about internet safety when she publishes their address on her website. My only slight niggle with the plot is that seven didn’t seem to be a particularly large number of cats for a cat café. That may, however, just be me as I have six cats and my next door neighbour has the same. Maybe we should be banding together and setting up our own cat café?
Finally, I feel it is only fair to warn parents of one very important fact – this book is part of series. Buy one and you’re opening the floodgates to requests for others in the series!
Date: March 2016
Author’s Website: Katrina Charman
Review first published on The Bookbag