Little Cat's Luck

illus. by Jennifer A. Bell. 224p. S. & S. Feb. 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781481424882.
Gr 2–5—An inquisitive little calico house cat, on the prowl for a special place all her own, slips through a loose window screen and finds herself outside, where falling golden leaves lure her far away from home. At first, one may think that a cat wandering through town does not make for much of a story. But with deliberate pacing, the feline's adventures escalate, and while her boldness grows, so do readers' trepidations. Indeed, the ensuing encounter with the meanest dog in town reaches climactic suspense, but readers still don't know why the little cat named Patches is seeking a place of her own—though there are some clues. Written in free verse and using concrete poetry elements interspersed with charming black-and-white drawings, the book engages on many levels. The writing in verse shows careful use of words; each sentence is spare but laden with meaning that moves the story forward. The use of free verse also makes the narration intimate and immediate, pulling readers right into the events. The story at its most basic is about families and love, but other themes are present, such as friendship, neglect, bravery, and determination. This is an endearing tale that is told with warmth and humor and a great understanding of love. This companion novel to Little Dog, Lost (S. & S., 2012) shines all on its own.
VERDICT A good buy for young readers, whether they are animal lovers or not, and equally appealing to reluctant and voracious readers.

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