Ollie and her cat Pumpkin are out frolicking on a beautiful fall day when they come upon a tiny kitten shivering in a pile of fallen leaves. Ollie warms the kitten up and the three become fast friends, but when Ollie sees “Lost Kitten” posters hanging on the trees in the forest, she knows she has to help her new friend get home. As Halloween draws nearer, magic is afoot, and Ollie’s good deed is rewarded in an unexpected way.
While this author’s book, The Little Reindeer, warmed my heart, this new one has made me an absolute fan of her work.
Ollie goes outside to play with her friendly cat, but as she stares at a pile of leaves, she sees it move. A burst of wind exposes a hidden bundle of fur…and the adventure begins.
First off, I enjoy the illustrations in this book. They are mostly kept in black, white, and grays, leaving only certain objects to burst forth in glorious shades of orange. Add the metallic touches on the cover, and it gives the book a high quality, eye-catching, and yet, heart-filled atmosphere, which promises to charm…and does. The little ‘windows’ scattered through the book to reveal past and future pages, adds a cute aspect young listeners are sure to love as it wakes their curiosity and allows a type of continuous connection between the scenes.
The tale is sweet and hits upon so many emotions young listeners can easily identify with. Ollie is a sweet girl, with a pure love for her cat and those around her. And she enjoys to play like any other child. Her moments with the cats will have listeners sighing and remembering their own moments of petting one, and her journey into the forest awakens curiosity and a small sense of adventure. When things start to take a more serious turn, young listeners can anticipate what might happen next, which raises the tension nicely and definitely draws in.
The ending and journey bring several lovely messages. There are friendship, forgiveness, feeling lost and alone, hope, the joy of helping others, and the happiness of having someone to truly care for you. It sounds like a lot, but the author masterfully weaves all of this into a simple and lovely tale, which is sure to become a favorite especially during the autumn months.
Oh! And there’s a humorous surprise, which is sure to bring wide eyes and remarks at the end…a perfect spot of unexpected magic and humor to seal off a simply wonderful read.
And here she is…
Nicola Killen has always loved drawing and still likes nothing better than taking her sketchbook to the zoo to draw her favorite animals. She designed cards before starting an MA in children’s book illustration at Cambridge School of Art, and since then she has been working on her own books, including The Little Reindeer, which was called ‘an original and entertaining Christmas story with its own understated charm’ in a starred review by Kirkus Reviews and ‘magical’ by Publishers Weekly. The Little Reindeer was name a Horn Book Holiday High Note. Nicola Killen lives and works in Cambridge, England. Learn more about Nicola at www.nicolakillen.com.