Today’s pick: Cat Found by Ingrid Lee
The Chicken House, 2011
From the publisher:In Billy’s small town, stray cats are running wild, and some people want to get rid of them. The school bullies even throw rocks at the poor creatures! So when Billy finds a hurt starving kitten and sneaks her home, he has to be extra careful to keep her hidden while he nurses her back to health. However precious little Conga is to him, he knows his dad would take her away if he discovered her, cozy and warm, in Billy’s bedroom!
Can Billy and his friends face the cat bullies, show the town the importance of caring for abandoned animals, and find a safe haven for strays?
My Take:Although I’m more of a dog person, I could sympathize with the hard life experienced by the stray cats and I was rooting for Billy to help find a solution. Billy’s character was believable, and so were his friends Luke and Salome. For me, Billy’s father was less convincing. I found it hard to accept when he abruptly changed his perspective after one story event, but other readers might not mind this if they are caught up in the story. Cat Found has a clear message about spaying and neutering, and highlights issues related to cruelty to animals. Some parts of this story may not be appropriate for younger children - there are two scenes of cats giving birth, one including a stillborn kitten, and the other where the cat dies.
As a writer, I liked the way the author tackled real issues and didn’t sugar coat the hard life of the cats. She used details carefully to present a picture of the events that wasn’t overly gruesome.
Favourite quote:About Salome’s drawings: “In their charcoal skins, the paper cats walked and slept and groomed, and did a thousand different things.”
Ingrid Lee lives in Toronto.Her first book for older readers, Dog Lost, is based on a true story.
This book is nominated for the Ontario Library Association's Forest of Reading in the Silver Birch (Fiction) category for 2013. If you aren't familiar with the Forest of Reading program, here's how it works: Professionals from schools and public libraries nominate a selection of books in a specific category. Students from all over the province read them and then in April they vote for their favourite. I have previously profiled A Tinfoil Sky by Cyndi Sand-Eveland.
Other books by this author include:Dog Lost
For more about Ingrid Lee, check out her GoodReads profile.
Marvelous Middle Grade Monday was dreamed up by the incredible Shannon Messenger, author of Keeper of the Lost Cities. Visit her blog for an up-to-date list of all the bloggers who are participating and posting about middle grade books today!