Young fairy-tale lovers and cat enthusiasts will purr over this predictably sweet story of royal feline fancy.
In the preface, Henney (The Escape: Naughty Bluejay and Woodpecker, 2014, etc.) cites high printing costs as the reason her book’s illustrations are not in color. The explanation may not have been necessary, however; the black-and-white illustrations lend a classic feel and complement the simple plot. When Princess Trinka—a beautiful, red-and-white ring-tailed cat with golden eyes—can’t sleep because tomcats serenade her at night, a wise old feline advises her to take a vacation. While romping through the woods, the princess is spotted by Basil, a handsome tomcat. Leaving his kindly owner, Basil follows Princess Trinka back to her castle, where he sings beautiful love songs beneath her window, only to leave before the smitten princess can find out who he is. The princess calls for a singing contest in the kingdom to find the mysterious, talented tomcat. There are no big surprises in this romance, however, as Princess Trinka and Basil quickly get together. For the most part, Henney’s narrative is easy reading for children 7 and older. The story’s retro feel is enhanced by its old-fashioned artistic representations, such as Basil’s owner, who is an older woman in a long dress and apron. The animals in the book will please many young readers; e.g., the wise, old cats, though bony and somewhat scraggly, are friendly characters. Princess Trinka is regal in her cape and crown, and the cartoonish “serenading” toms are humorous. Though the storyline is not especially imaginative (there are no unexpected twists or turns), elementary readers who love cats and royal marriages may enjoy this modest tale.
A fun story with traditional appeal.