A stray cat wonders if he has what it takes to be the feline-in-residence at the Algonquin Hotel in this illustrated children’s-book sequel.
One day, a scruffy orange tomcat is on the street; the next, he’s the new “Algonquin Cat” at the famed New York City hotel, now that Matilda is retiring. Since 1932, there have been 11 such cats, with the females named Matilda and the males, Hamlet. Matilda shows the new Hamlet how to greet guests and flatter them. But he wonders if it’s all a mistake: “I am clumsy and I snore.” Matilda reminds him that all Algonquin felines were once street cats and recommends drawing courage from the famous Round Table. While snoozing below it, he hears a disembodied voice: “Do not be afraid. It is time to take your place.” Heartened, he confidently steps into his role. Two final pages supply background on the hotel and the Algonquin Cat tradition. Martini (Matilda the Algonquin Cat, 2016) offers a pleasing fable about feeling worthy when good fortune comes one’s way. This outing is less hotel-focused than the previous installment, but it still conveys the Algonquin’s special flavor. Gentle humor nicely balances Hamlet’s moments of anxiety. Mongiardo’s simple but effective tricolor illustrations beautifully convey Hamlet’s personality and the hotel’s appeal.
A charming tale, particularly for fans of the legendary hotel.