Violet the cat finds it hard to make friends with her new owners’ two dogs until they show their loyalty despite her unfriendliness.
Casanova’s energetic text begins with a brief mention of Violet’s previous home, where there was “too little food and too much shouting.” Presumably that’s why she hisses and spits at the people who stop by her cage at the shelter. Most walk away, but one couple decides to take her home. Once there she terrorizes George and Zippity, heroes of Some Dog! (2007). Things change after a trio of stray dogs finds her alone in the yard. Once rescued, Violet undergoes a serious attitude adjustment. From the cover that shows a wide-eyed, anxious-looking cat to the implication that Violet’s earlier experiences shaped her personality to the fairly scary attack by the stray dogs, this is not a typically perky pet-adoption tale. Hoyt’s illustrations, which appear to combine watercolor and pencil, set the story in and around a house by a lake and offer a mostly realistic look at the action. The cozy setting and some visual humor lighten the mood, as does Casanova’s use of nonsense words to convey the barking and meowing of the various animals.
Just as prickly as its heroine, this book requires an audience ready for its sobering back story. (Picture book. 4-7)