A caring young woman who takes in homeless cats finds her kindness rewarded when she suffers in turn.
The plot is slight and straightforward, if delightfully far-fetched, and Potter’s use of clever language further enhances its appeal. Whether given up by their previous owners because of perceived deficiencies (“He runs from mice!”) or strays who find their ways to Miss Hazeltine’s house on their own, each and every cat is welcomed and rehabilitated. Miss Hazeltine teaches them to pounce, climb, stretch and “think good thoughts.” She even shares her own secret fears with Crumb, the smallest, most frightened cat of them all. Meanwhile Sif’s quirky, pencil-drawn, digitally colored illustrations create a vaguely fairy-tale feel, especially in Miss Hazeltine’s cozy home in the forest, which suits the traditional trope of the least likely hero overcoming obstacles to save his beloved. In contrast, touches of modernity and humor, like the heroine’s red high-tops or her use of yoga postures (cat and cow, anyone?) to encourage the strays’ skill-building, add visual interest and a charming freshness. Vignettes, single- and double-page spreads are perfectly paired with the text and offer plenty of details—and cats—to pore over.
Listeners of all stripes, feline fanciers or not, will be pleased and amused as the mild adventure winds to a happily-ever-after ending. (Picture book. 5-8)