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by John Sullivan ; illustrated by Hatem Aly

Pub Date: Oct. 3rd, 2023
ISBN: 9781534471320
Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Ethan and his older brother, Sam, are walking to school on a city street when Ethan notices several stray cats.

Ethan asks Sam if he thinks their father would allow them to get a pet cat. Sam attempts to dissuade him (“These cats aren’t pets”), but Ethan can’t stop thinking about them. He stops by to see them and gives them names. “Misty is curious, Fluffy is shy, and the littlest, Dusty, is bold.” When the boys visit the library, Ethan learns about cats’ needs and later notices a sign outside the animal clinic: “TRAP NEUTER RETURN.” Sam explains that neuter means preventing cats from having kittens, and the boys enter the clinic. They leave with three humane traps, entice the cats with tuna, and accompany them to the clinic to ensure that the strays will not bring new kittens into the world. Although the information on trap-neuter-return in the backmatter instructs readers to ask clinics about volunteers who might assist them, the boys carry out the mission by themselves. Adults—such as the vet and the boys’ father—are mentioned, but none appear in the cartoonish, mixed-media illustrations. Though the subject matter is appealing, the didactic, purposeful text likely won’t interest most readers. The brothers have dark brown skin and curly hair.

A worthy message about managing the population of street cats marred by flat writing.

(resources) (Picture book. 6-8)