Happily this turns out to be a fairly affecting slice of inner city life although the title sets you up for yet another middle-grade supernatural go-around and the opening chapter doesn't do much to raise your expectations either: Edward, an undersized, nine-year-old ""pretty boy,"" adopts a cat reputed to have ""powers"" in the hopes it will protect him from the mean, bullying dudes who hang around the project. However, after an early encounter in which the cat does scare off the local heavies, Sargent pretty well forgets the fierce tabby and settles into her real and more involving story of Edward's hopes for getting himself and Mama out of the ghetto. Enlisting the aid of best friend Howard and, later, of tough, street-smart Peaches, he aims to earn enough for a bus ticket to Chicago and talk his long-gone Dad into footing the bill for a new home. Although he does eventually make it to the Windy City, the visit is predictably a bust: Dad makes a big show of buying toys and clothes, then leaves Edward stranded when a strong-arming racketeer shows up at the apartment. Yet it's a mark of Edward's resilience that he can accept the fact that the move isn't going to happen--at least not now--and not even feel too bad about all those presents he left behind at Dad's. There are lots of nice, small moments here. But the best involve the kids' moneymaking schemes--selling off the witch cat's kittens, setting up a street corner five-and-dime--which show Edward as a shrewd yet kind-hearted entrepreneur who, in his quiet way, is more than capable of taking care of business.