A delightful story that will be devoured by emerging readers, especially young girls with an interest in cats and dogs.
Lily loves their rescue dog, Hugo. However, Lily also really wants a cat – or better still a kitten. She, therefore, can’t believe her luck when Hugo sniffs out three abandoned kittens while out of his walk with Lily and her dad. Better still (from Lily’s point of view at least) the animal shelter is full so Lily’s mum and dad reluctantly offer to hand-rear the tiny kittens until they’re old enough to be rehomed. Lily’s in heaven looking after the kittens, especially the little fluffy white one whom she names Stanley. There is just one problem – it’s going to break her heart when the time comes to say goodbye.
A quick internet search reveals that there are over 30 titles in the Holly Webb Animal Stories series. All have very similar titles: for example, the The Lost Puppy, The Missing Kitten or The Kitten Nobody Wanted. I, therefore, expected a story that felt like it had been produced on a conveyer belt with two-dimensional characters and a weak plot. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
The opening immediately draws the reader into a believable family with fun and realistic dialogue. This is followed with just the right amount of scene setting (and, it transpires later, plot set up) before we meet, and lose our hearts to, the abandoned kittens. Throughout the story the reader is able to easily identify with Lily, sharing her concern for the motherless kittens and learning along with her how to care for such tiny creatures. However, what impressed me the most was the plot twist at the end.
As you might expect, Lily formulates a plan to persuade her parents to let her keep the little white kitten, Stanley. Her parents have always said that it wouldn’t be fair to introduce a cat into the family but Lily is able to point out that their huge white dog and tiny white kitten are practically inseparable. For a while it looks like Lily is going to win the argument and keep her kitten. Then everything goes wrong.
As an avid reader, I wasn’t surprised to find Lily’s plan implode (it is, after all, basic story structure) but I couldn’t guess how a resolution was going to be reached. I, therefore, loved the clever and unexpected resolution. (To tell you more might spoil the story but there’s a strong clue in chapter one if you can spot it!) Overall, this is a delightful story that will be devoured by the target audience. I now understand why there are over 30 titles in this series and, based on the quality of this story, I’m sure there is scope for many, many more.
If you enjoyed this, why not check out Sammy the Shy Kitten by Holly Webb or The Wish Puppy (Molly’s Magic) by Holly Webb.
Date: April 2017
Publisher: Stripes Publishing
Author: Holly Webb
Review first published on The Bookbag