A house cat with just two lives left visits his extended family around the world.
Felix numbers among his many friends the cushions he sleeps on and his owner’s legs, but one hot night he decides to meet those family members he’s never seen. He leaves “the way cats always leave when they want to see the world—silently, through a little door in the darkness.” In India, he visits the Tigers, eats shrimp, and drinks mango juice; in China, he has tea and herrings with Mr. and Mrs. Snow Leopard; in Russia, Mr. Lynx offers him blini; in the United States, he has steak with Mr. Puma; in Brazil, his “mysterious” cousin the panther gives him kebabs; and on the African savanna, he catches up on his sleep with a pride of lions. Felix’s travelogue shares many of the faults of the form—the relegation of cultural nuance to named foodstuffs, a whiff of exoticism, and, in particular, the equation of Africa to individual countries—but its presumably European perspective (this is an Italian import) means that American readers are treated to a vision of the U.S. that’s as reductive as all too many U.S. travelogues are of the rest of the world. Mulazzani’s luscious paintings place gray Felix (clad in blue vest and ever changing plaid shorts) in dreamlike yet friendly global scenarios. Zoboli’s text in Watkinson’s translation is just as plush and whimsical.
Overall, an agreeable world tour. (Picture book. 5-8)