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by Azra Z. Mehdi illustrated by Sama Nadeem Izhar

Pub Date: Jan. 4th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0615553610
Publisher: Azra Z. Mehdi

A stranded kitten leads to a lesson in courage and empathy for a young girl in Mehdi’s simple children’s tale.

Hana hears a mysterious meowing while walking home from the grocery store with her mother. Upon investigating, they discover a lone kitten stuck high in a tree. As she gazes at the white and black kitten with purple stripes, Hana wonders what it would feel like if she were stranded without her mother. A quick phone call to the fire department sends rescuers scrambling up a ladder in an attempt to recover the kitten. But the skittish kitten keeps crawling higher. Eager to assist, Hana asks if she can try to coax the kitten down. This earns her an adamant “Absolutely not!” from the fire brigade. But Hana won’t be deterred and soon finds herself harnessed to one of the firemen, ascending the ladder. Eventually, Hana saves the day through her bravery and determination. Mehdi’s slender tale emphasizes many admirable qualities, such as Hana’s ability to empathize and her instinct to get help. However, the ending shifts the focus to Hana’s bravery in climbing the ladder, an act few parents would want to glamorize. Izhar’s illustrations of Hana in her helmet and harness happily climbing the ladder seem to further make light of the danger, despite the text’s insistence that she is frightened. Overall, Izhar’s illustrations work well alongside Mehdi’s text and convey amusing details, such as the strikingly similar facial expressions of mother and daughter as they search for the kitten. Although the concept of this book is far from original, there is a small twist at the very end that adds depth and layer to the story; Hana learns that life can be unfair, even for heroes. 

A light-hearted tale with an important message for young readers: courage comes in many forms, and often means putting our own fears aside to help another.