LOLA AND THE RENT-A-CAT by Ceseli Josephus Jitta


Age Range: 5 - 8
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This peculiar import, an award-winner in Holland, may struggle to find an appreciative audience stateside. It’s possible that something was lost in translation—or perhaps cultural norms and values differ. The plot is clear and believable if not particularly engaging. An elderly couple are happy together. The husband dies. The wife is lonely. A pet provides comfort. Present-tense declarative sentences convey the action effectively but have an abrupt tone that some young listeners may find disconcerting. “One day John falls over. His heart stops beating.” Jitta’s illustrations likewise lack conventional child appeal. Created on a background of graph paper, they include collage, ink and paint. Figures are simply, sometimes awkwardly, drawn, and backgrounds are generally unpopulated. Movement is implied, and some gentle visual humor is included, but unfortunately the overall effect is disorienting. Unlike the winsome Tim (the cat Lola selects from the titular website to keep her company and cheer her days), this odd tale is unlikely to be chosen and enjoyed by casual browsers. For parents seeking to explain changes in a grandparent’s behavior after being widowed, however, it may be helpful. (Picture book. 5-8)


Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-84780-139-5
Page count: 28pp
Publisher: Frances Lincoln
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 2010