A stray cat finds a cozy home, brings comfort to a lonely woman, and enhances the sense of community among a group of neighbors.
The multiply named hero of this British import is a simply drawn, rather portly calico cat. He slips in and out of the houses and lives of the people who live on Blossom Street. He enjoys (or merely tolerates) different activities in each house, eating fresh fish for breakfast, serving as an artist’s model, digging in the garden, bird-watching with a pair of binocular-wielding twins, and more. But there’s one house the cat doesn’t visit—until he does, and everything changes. Harnett’s colored-pencil artwork is reminiscent of Maira Kalman’s work, with lots of color and pattern, flattened perspectives, and a mix of double-page spreads, single-page illustrations, vignettes, and panels. The Blossom Street residents are pleasingly diverse in gender, race, and ethnicity, as revealed by skin tone, details of dress, and/or surname. Archie etc., meanwhile, appears utterly impassive and vaguely bored—i.e. totally, convincingly catlike. Dialogue balloons and sly humor enliven the deadpan text, which complements the quirky pictures perfectly.
The focus on friendly camaraderie and community-building will be appreciated by many adults eager to share their values, and this quiet tale, with the children in their lives. (Picture book. 4-7)