A neighborhood market’s cat makes a new friend in this debut picture book.
Barry is an urban feline living in a bodega, a small store selling groceries and other necessities. He spends all day in or near the bodega; he especially enjoys playing with the bags of sunflower seeds and napping. But somewhat battered in appearance—“skinny, missing part of his ear, and his whiskers do not curl”—Barry is ignored by other cats in the neighborhood and lonely. Although he loves his human, Papi, Barry wishes he had a feline friend. One day, a blue cat named Henry returns Barry’s friendly wave and the two enjoy frolicking outside and inside the bodega. Henry’s human parents are alarmed to discover him there and at first forbid him from coming back. But Papi welcomes Henry to the bodega anytime, and they change their minds. Now, Henry is Barry’s best friend. In her book, Salad skillfully captures the life of a bodega cat. For example, a favorite pastime for Barry is knocking empty coffee cups off the counter. The desire for a friend is something children can understand, as is Barry’s pleasure in finding a pal at last. The illustrations nicely convey the cats’ humor (knocking over paper towels) and sweetness (napping together on stacks of bread). But not every cat owner would feel safe or responsible in allowing an indoor-only pet to navigate city sidewalks.
A charming tale about friendship with a special appeal for feline lovers.