Sometimes friendships can be all too fleeting.
In this tale told across the seasons, Mr. Cat, a painter, encounters a tiny slip of a girl beneath some autumn leaves amid winter’s snows. Concerned, he takes her home and feeds her toast. Though at first he must adapt to having someone new around, soon Mr. Cat comes to care for her and watch out for her. He even finds creative inspiration in the yellow flowers that appear in her footsteps outdoors. Mr. Cat searches for the name of the flower in an encyclopedia and discovers a picture of the girl, as well as some sad news about her life span. The straightforward text (translated from Chinese into Dutch and then into English) at times repeats what appears in the illustrations rather than leaving space for artistic vision and, furthermore, can be rather lengthy for a picture book. However, the smudgy, soft-edged illustrations are quite captivating. Close-ups of the girl and Mr. Cat really engage readers, and the spare use of yellow draws their eyes along. The use of white space creates tension and provides balance for several full-color spreads. The story, though, is slight, and it might leave young readers puzzled as to the little girl’s demise as well as Mr. Cat’s future now that he has been changed by his friend.
A slip of a story with quite engaging illustrations. (Picture book. 5-7)