Nero is the godfather of cats, an irregular mafia don of the feline persuasion. He rules the barnyard with an iron fist--one white paw. Dogs, donkeys, and roosters all fear Nero, and he easily exploits that fear, manipulating his way through each day, taking what he wants wherever he goes. When he can no longer endure the disparity between being a barely tolerated farm cat and the promise of being a lavishly loved house pet, he charms his way into the house and heart of a German couple vacationing in Italy, eventually leaving his homeland for German apartment dwelling. Nero is such a familiar bully that readers may find it hard to empathize with him; the return to his homeland in old age, meant to be bittersweet, is meaningless, and his obvious chauvinism does not bode well for females, human or animal. ""You and me, we're just alike: two clever, capable men of the world, pulling two simple-minded girls along behind us."" Perhaps the machismo should be left to Francis Ford Coppola, and the satire saved for an older audience. Heidenreich appears to be winking over the heads of middle-graders, and indulging in girl-bashing to boot.