A stray cat finds love with a pampered indoor purebred.
Luis, a black-and-white tuxedo cat who was rescued as a kitten from a burning building, is based “(unofficially) at the fire station” but roams freely. His life plying the streets is presented as a positive if somewhat unrealistic one: He finds food and affection easily everywhere. Then one fateful night he takes “a wrong turn” and spies Tabitha, a Himalayan, through a glass door. It’s love at first sight for the two cats, but Tabitha’s owner isn’t interested in allowing the romance to flourish. Luis tries subterfuge, which works briefly, then resigns himself to losing his love. A chance sighting that leads to a heroic rescue turns the tide, allowing for a happily-ever-after ending. Mengert’s retro cartoon-style illustrations have a vaguely Disney-esque feel, particularly in the depiction of Luis and his friends and the backgrounds, which include stylized urban skylines as well as attractive interiors and garden settings. Attitudes are clearly conveyed in the lift of a chin or the proud raising of a tail. The varying skin tones of firefighters and some bystanders add a soupçon of diversity (Tabitha’s owner presents white). Short sentences and occasional repetition give Campisi’s writing a pleasing rhythm, but the relatively lengthy text, predictable plot, and sophisticated vocabulary can make for slow going at times.
Cat and cartoon lovers, as well as romance aficionados, will lap up this cheerful confection, but it may not offer enough substance to tempt them to repeat readings. (Picture book. 4-7)