HIGHWAY CATS by Janet Taylor Lisle


by , illustrated by
Age Range: 9 - 12


A poignant but dignified cat’s-eye-view of a stretch of highway, a small, threatened forest and some quietly supernatural kittens. Interstate 95 “flow[s] down the center” of the lives of these feral cats, who perch on the shoulder awaiting the fast-food scraps tossed from car windows. Shopping-mall Dumpsters offer alternate foraging. Khalia Koo, a Siamese who hides her burned face behind yogurt containers and envelopes, runs a rat-meat business in the nearby woods. Shredder, a skinny old loner, sees a box of kittens dropped off on the center median. That they survive crossing the lanes seems miraculous, as does their power to open the scarred cats’ hearts and make them band together. En masse, they defeat bulldozers trying to plow down their forest. The tiny, silent kittens are vaguely developmentally delayed and glow at night with a “faint silvery blue sparkle.” Lisle frames and sprinkles the story with newspaper clippings and mayoral dialogue about destroying the woods; Frankland’s graceful black silhouettes run across page bottoms. Understatedly sweet, faintly mystical and never twee. (Fantasy. 9-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-399-25070-5
Page count: 128pp
Publisher: Philomel
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2008


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