Saturday, July 31, 2010

Ginger and the Mystery Visitor


Charlotte Voake

I had not realized how prolific nor how celebrated Charlotte Voake was until I googled her.  She's a busy lady, all right. We have the first book in this series, Ginger, where the orange cat is introduced, plus the arrival of the unwelcome sidekick kitten.  I managed to miss the prequel Ginger Finds a Home, where the namesake is nearly unrecognizable on the cover. I should get my hands on it, so we have the complete series.
In the third book, things have settled down, with Ginger and the kitten happily co-habitating, sharing food bowls and a basket. One morning, they notice a strange cat peering in at them through the window. The visitor isn't exactly skinny, but he does have a terribly hungry look in his eyes.  One day, he sneaks into the kitchen and cleans out the bowls. For me, this is the best page in the entire book, simply for the expressions on the two cats' faces.  Their eyes are very wide, conveying both surprise and disapproval.  If they could talk, it would be "What the heck is going on here? I cannot believe this - how rude!"

The new cat starts coming in whenever the door is not properly latched, making himself at home by cleaning up the food dishes and sleeping on the bed! The little girl is worried that perhaps he is homeless, so she attaches a note to his neck with ribbon asking if anyone will lay claim. The next time their visitor appears, a response is tied to her ribbon. The note states that not only does Tiddles have a loving home, but he is well fed and should not be given any handouts, as he is getting rather chubby.  The little girl complies with the note and takes a rather firm stance with the cat. That naughty beggar cat continues to appear at the window, with the hungry look in his eye.  When he realizes he will not be served, he stops begging at the window, but they see him at food dishes all over town.

This book gave me a chuckle, both for the illustrations and life lesson on cats.  They are smart and a bit sneaky and always seem to land on their feet.  Clever Tiddles, trying to look so hungry and tugging at everyone's heartstrings, while his belly gets bigger each day.     

Review copy provided by Candlewick Press. 

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