by Clare Turlay Newberry
April lives in a small apartment with her parents and their beloved cat, Sheba. When Sheba has kittens, the little girl is delighted, but her father is concerned- their place is too small for four cats, so the kittens must go. Of course April falls in love with them, and has a special favorite. When new prospective owners come visiting, she watches anxiously as they each pick out a kitten. Finally only one is left- and it\’s her favorite. Her father decides that they will give the mother cat to her her aunt, and keep the kitten \”you\’d rather have a kitten to play with, wouldn\’t you?\” but soon April realizes this will mean giving up the cat she has known for so long- and what if Sheba isn\’t happy in her new home? a young kitten would adjust easier. She agonizes and sheds tears, then finally decides to send the kitten to her aunt\’s house, and keep Sheba instead. But when she announces this idea to her father, he has a new plan that might allow them to keep both cats.
I have to say, not everyone would find the final solution practical, but it\’s a neat and tidy ending that leaves everyone happy. What makes this story shine are the very realistic conversations everyone has over the fate of the kittens- April wondering, tearful, hopeful at turns, her mother gentle and consoling, her father very matter-of-fact, other children questioning and thrilled with the kittens too. The illustrations are simply delightful. They are so beautifully drawn and depict precisely feline gestures and moods.
I snatched this up when came across it on a library shelf (I\’m familiar with a few other books by this author/illustrator). The book is a little advanced for my three-year-old; I have to edit out about half the sentences on a page or she looses interest but the illustrations are so endearing, she still wants to read it with me (my older daughter read a few of the picture books I brought home last week too, and this one was her favorite).
Rating: 4/5 32 pages, 1940