An illustrated debut children’s book that tells the story of a family and their beloved cat.
Every morning, a beautiful, unnamed Himalayan cat wakes up a woman named Pepe with howls that can be heard throughout the house. After Pepe shushes the feline, the two snooze a bit together—but then the hungry meows start up again. Young siblings Pam and Andy wait in bed as Pepe, their mother, goes downstairs to feed their pet, who keeps making noise all the way. After breakfast, the Himalayan runs outside the house, known as Worthwyle, apparently to explore the neighborhood—and it soon gets lost. Pepe’s neighbor Sam helps in the search for the cat and soon returns it, much to the delight of the praying family. Everyone agrees that what makes Worthwyle so wonderful are its residents’ “thoughtfulness and love / virtues to practice all of life / for you and me.” The subject of DeFina’s brief book—a family pet who escapes but returns—offers a relatable, reassuring scenario for youngsters, and it’s underscored by a final image that shows the big hearts of the family members. However, the prose is often awkward, and it employs no consistent rhyme scheme. Sometimes it uses quatrains in an ABCB pattern, or it uses another scheme entirely, such as AAABCB. It also employs lines of variable length to facilitate rhymes (“Pepe puts on her robe and slippers / and steps down the stair / for to keep the Himalayan howling / would not be fair”) or introduces an element seemingly for rhyme’s sake, such as a hen to rhyme with “open.” The illustrations are colorful but often have a flat, generic quality, and their lack of diversity—all four humans appear white with light-brown hair—may disappoint some parents.
A clumsily executed tale, although its happy ending will have some appeal.