A gentle if slightly puzzling introduction for young children to the sunset stage of life.
Oscar is not your typical cat. He lives in a nursing home called Hope House, where he spends his days visiting elderly residents. When a white man becomes lost and frightened during a storm, Oscar meows to guide him through the dark safely back to bed. Oscar’s most important job is perhaps the most unusual. When a resident dies, Oscar sits on the bed and a character named Mewt appears, taking the form of someone very dear to the patient. Mewt and Oscar know each other, and together they help the resident pass to the other side in peace. It is not clear who or what Mewt is—perhaps a guardian angel?—but the sweet sentiment might offer a comforting way to talk with young readers about death and a possible afterlife. Long blocks of text are coupled with warm painterly illustrations that vary perspective: at some times a cat’s-eye view; at others, just Oscar’s tail—giving the impression he is there, just at the edges, always aware of what’s happening. Originally an Italian story, the text’s slight imperfections might be due to the uncredited translation.
An unusual cat in an unusual story that doesn’t quite satisfy. (Picture book. 4-8)