A timid cat finds a forever home and learns what it means to be loved in this debut picture book.
In her work, Wakeman, who holds a master of divinity degree in Christian education, crafts the first-person tale of Bella, a homeless little cat, as a religious parable for young readers. Bella begins her narrative by introducing herself as a kitty who was once lonely and frightened, trying her best to survive rough weather and avoid danger. “I didn’t know I was lost…until I was found,” Bella says. Through clear and simple language, Wakeman brings Bella’s story to life, making it easy for readers to empathize with the shy cat as she describes her rescue from a precarious perch in a tree and, after a stay with a kind veterinarian, her slow adjustment to life in her new home. Despite kind treatment, Bella at first hides under the furniture, continuing to be terrified of every loud noise and fearful of petting. She runs away from her patient and gentle caretakers—until she finally understands, with purring acceptance, that she will always be loved. Knighton matches the tone of the soothing text with appealing watercolor illustrations featuring soft lines, rounded shapes, muted hues, and a diverse human cast. The placement of the images, some full page, some floating in circles against expansive white space, further complements the mood—as does Bella’s expressively fluffy tail. Bella ends her narrative with an upbeat afterword that addresses readers directly, telling them that they can be “found,” too, that they aren’t alone even in dark times. This reassurance closes with a biblical quote to underscore the message of faith within Wakeman’s Christian tale: “God’s perfect love takes away fear” (1 John 4:18). In her note to adults following the story, the author explains her motivation for writing the child-friendly parable: parents, she suggests, could use its “deeper meaning” to help their kids come “to know God as their Heavenly Father.”
A gentle feline tale aimed at a Christian audience.