In Belciglio and Tolbert’s debut children’s book, a cool calico cat explores the city of Charlotte, N.C.
Toos (rhymes with “moose”) is a male calico cat, a genetic rarity. He lives in Charlotte with his owner, John. The cat lives an easy life consisting of eating food, taking naps, playing with catnip toys and glaring at birds. His rarity makes him special, in that he possesses a knack for turning bad situations into good ones. When John inadvertently leaves the door open one day, Toos decides it’s time to hit the road, and he goes in search of adventure and fellow felines. The resulting tale, written from the Toos’ perspective, follows the lucky cat on his adventures throughout the city. In search of a feline friend, he finds himself at a Charlotte Bobcats basketball game, viewing a local landmark at the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, and in front of a giant panther statue. The authors and illustrator show readers some of Charlotte’s most famous sights. However, readers unfamiliar with the city may have a hard time identifying the sites for what they are, such as an NBA arena; although from a cat’s perspective, such details perhaps don’t matter. Children will likely enjoy Toos’ cool-as-a-cucumber attitude and his penchant for using words such as “dude” and “awesome.” The painted illustrations are colorful and engaging and Anderson does a great job capturing Toos’ expressions and body language. Although youngsters may have difficulty with some of the more advanced vocabulary, the story is engaging enough for adults to enjoy reading it with their kids. A slightly awkward moment occurs in the beginning of the book, when Toos relates a story of when he tore up some of John's important papers; the moment doesn’t fit with the easy flow of the rest of the tale. However, this hiccup doesn’t diminish the overall appeal and humor of Toos’ journey through Charlotte.
A clever, engaging book that will likely leave readers wanting more tales of Toos.