Friday, 16 July 2021

The Cat Thief

The Cat Thief by Pat Simmons, illustrated by Liz Duthie (Little Pink Dog Books) HB RRP $24.99 ISBN: 9780648964018

Reviewed by Dannielle Viera

Olive really wants a cat to play with – so she takes one home. But when there is ‘a knock on the door’, Olive has to give up her feline friend. So she swipes a second cat … and then a third. Each time, the relieved owner comes to the house and thanks Olive for finding their pet, not realising that the little girl had actually purloined the puss in the first place. In desperation, Olive hangs a ‘cat wanted’ sign on her front gate. It doesn’t take long for her wish to be granted … twice! 

Ideal for kids aged up to eight, Pat Simmons’ purr-fect tale about a girl who wants a furry playmate is simple yet sweet. Repetition and the rule of three are used to great effect, ensuring that the twist at the end is both surprising and satisfying. Parents will find a couple of clever literary references for them, too – Miss Grimm’s kitty is called Wilhelm, while Mrs Wilde’s cat is known as Oscar.

Rendered in pen and ink with watercolour, Liz Duthie’s illustrations are bursting with cartoony hues. Dynamic line work draws young eyes across the images, and adds movement and humour to the spreads. Kids will love Liz’s charming characterisation of the cats, from the cool nonchalance of Oscar and the skittishness of little Mocha to the fluffy grumpiness of Wilhelm.

High-spirited and hiss-terical, The Cat Thief will steal the heart of kids and adults alike. There is no heavy-handed lesson or moralistic message about theft – the story’s finale focuses on the pure joy of caring for animals that need a new home.

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