I don't often make time to read a book, and when I do, it's usually something short. So, the idea of reading and reviewing a few books for children and young readers (of all ages) interested me. Adding to the appeal was that I could choose titles that suggested cats would play an important role and help instill in readers their own fascination with and love of these curious creatures. The ones I found did not disappoint.
“Anton and Cecil: Cats at Sea” by Lisa Martin and Valerie Martin, illustrated by Kelly Murphy (Algonquin Young Readers, 242 pages, in stores).
I enjoyed getting to know brothers Cecil and Anton, who lived with their mom near an ocean harbor. Stocky and risk-taking Cecil dreams of traveling to foreign shores aboard the big ships, while slim, gray Anton is happy to spend time listening to the seafarers' tales from the safe confines of the saloon on dry land.
But as luck, or lack of luck, would have it, Anton ends up getting taken aboard a cargo ship to control the rats. His captors had no way of knowing he couldn't stomach the rodents! When Cecil realizes what has happened to his missing brother, he boards another ship. But what are the chances they will ever find each other? The authors chronicle the adventures of each feline, introducing readers to two- and four-legged characters they meet along journeys that include ship changes brought by storms, pirates and other causes.
Valerie Martin, who has written books for adults, and her niece Lisa Martin target middle-readers with this story of friendships, hope and survival. But older readers are likely to be charmed as well. The illustrations by Kelly Murphy add to the delight.
“Captain Cat” by Inga Moore (Candlewick Press, 48 pages, in stores).
Captain Cat was a trader. But his trading didn't work so well, because he always wanted more cats, and tended to swap things of value to get them. Other traders laughed at him. Captain Cat also dreamed of sailing his ship to visit faraway places. And when he finally set out on that journey, others ridiculed him more. Each page turn of this short and simple story, inspired by an old Italian tale, reveals surprising treasures of narrative and illustration from children's author Inga Moore. I love that the moral of this little story is: Don't underestimate the value of a cat! Anyone who loves cats and kittens will enjoy reading this to and with children.