A debut short story collection for children spins tales of Scottish cats learning life lessons.
Set in various locales along the Scotland’s River Clyde, this pleasant book features six short stories, each featuring an idiosyncratic cat engaged in a mild adventure. Each feline is named for a color (Rhuari Red Cat, Olivia Orange Cat, Ya Yellow Cat, and so on), which determines the book’s graphic design: white pages of text, each outlined in dots that correspond to each cat’s hue. The accompanying, uncredited illustrations are sweet and bright, and they have the untutored but charming appearance of children’s art. Members of the book’s young target audience will have no trouble relating to the felines, who observe and react to their adventures from a childlike perspective. Rhuari Red Cat, for example, is certain that he’s “big, fearsome, and very, very scary” enough to ignore his mother’s warning that he’s too little to go hunting for food away from his home. He feels differently after he has unsuccessful encounters with trash bins and a garbage truck (which he sees as a “monster”). This and other stories are all presented with a light, gentle touch, and they feature pleasant messages involving friendship, empowerment, and the cozy security of home. For example, Ya Yellow Cat attends her owner’s ballet class and, through observation and practice, realizes her dream of becoming a graceful dancer; fire-station resident Peter Purple Cat takes a break from his official mouse-catching job for a too-exciting outing on a fire truck; vegetarian Bobby Blue Cat, who only eats tomatoes, fails at fishing but finds common ground with his meat-eating feline neighbors; and Gertie Green Cat ventures out of her “beautiful little house by the Firth of Clyde” to say hello to the blue sea, the green hills, and the golden sun—and after receiving no reply, she returns to the place she likes best: her owner’s lap.
Simple, relatable cat-centered tales and childlike illustrations add up to a cozy debut.