Leonard (My Life as a Cat)

Walker. Apr. 2021. 240p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781536207705.
Gr 4-7–On a helium planet far, far away, an unembodied species has the opportunity, on their 300th birthday, to travel to Earth and experience life as a human—at least, that’s the plan. Our hero has decided he wants to be a park ranger in Yellowstone, but getting distracted while traveling via energy beam causes him to end up as a cat, rescued from a tropical storm in South Carolina by Olive, who names him Leonard. Problem is, at the end of his 30-day window, he’ll need to be blown out of the Old Faithful geyser at Yellowstone, or he’ll be stuck on Earth forever, and no longer immortal. As the days pass, Leonard comes to learn the joys of having a body (even if he does hack up a fur ball) and, even more, of love. His obligation to meet up with his own kind at Yellowstone, and the challenges of making the nearly 2,000-mile trip, grows more daunting every day. It’s only when Leonard enlists the help of Olive and her family that things finally begin to make sense. While this charming story exists in the realm of science fiction, it is more an animal story than anything else, and perfect to hand to young cat lovers. Leonard’s surprise at, and observations of, life in a cat’s body is spot-on and frequently very funny. His authentic, deepening relationship with Olive—who has been told that she’s “weird” because she loves to talk about animals—allows her to stand up and make her voice heard at an important juncture in her life.
VERDICT Purchase where eccentric, humorous animal stories are popular.

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