Hat Cat; Troy Wilson (Eve Coy-Illustrator)
Candlewick Press - 2022
(ages 4 - 8)
This is a touching story about growing old and caring for other living things both human and animals.
We meet a lonely, elderly man who lives alone. He enjoys the simple pleasures like leaving peanuts for the squirrels and watching them feast from his front porch. One day the man realizes that he forgot to bring his hat inside and he finds a small kitten nestled underneath. The old man begins feeding the kitten and even names him Hat. The cat named Hat becomes an indoor cat but misses its outdoor life. When the man goes away for a bit and Hat seems to have been left alone. I feared this story was moving to a dark place, perhaps too dark for young children but, it did not. While the man is away the neighbors step in to care for the cat until the man eventually returns home.
The colorful illustrations are well done and quite sweet, I liked the story about companionship and helping others in need.
The View From the Very Best House in Town; Meena Trehan
Walker Books - 2022
(Ages - 8 - 12)
Part thriller, part friendship story, this is a book that will make the reader think about what constitutes a "real friend and a real home." The story features two good friends, Sam and Asha, who are on the autism spectrum. Sam has just been accepted into a private school, Castleton Academy. It's his mother that wants to change things up for him and things get off to a rocky start for him when he is publicly referred to as the Miracle Boy. Sam is faced with new classmates who may pretend to want to be his friend but their actions show something quite different.
Sam and Asha's characters come across as both unique, complex and quite genuine. I thought it was quite creative that a third character -- a mansion known as Donnybrook added a mystery element to the story as well as the girl named Prestyn, who lives at Donnybrook. She pretends to want to be a friend to Sam but is anything but.
This is the type of story that should generate questions and conversation form the children who read this book. I thought this debut story was well done and the ending satisfying as well.
Rating - 4/5 stars
NOTE: (Both of these books were sent to me at no cost in exchange for my unbiased reviews.)