A Cat Named Swan
Random House, 2017
From the back of the book: “When this abandoned kitten is adopted, his whole world is transformed….”
Sweet little kitten wakes up to find his mother and siblings gone – and of course the reader’s heart is breaking. Poor kitten wanders the city streets eating garbage to survive. By now the reader is wondering “Is there an upside to this story?” Well, I’m here to tell you, there is! One day the kitten is stuck in a tree and eventually rescued by Animal Control and taken to a (hopefully no-kill) shelter. He is soon adopted, named Swan, and learns to love and accept love by humans.
This story is more real, I think, than fantasy. It’s very stark in its depiction of the dangers that street cats and kittens face. It’s very truthful when it comes to shelters. A quote for your consideration: “But now there was food. Soon, when nothing harmed him or frightened him, he became less afraid. The new place was safe. Boredom was better than misery.” Did you pick up on that left-handed compliment? ‘Boredom better than misery.’ I’m sure shelters are boring for formerly outdoor kitties. I was never in a shelter, having been placed in a foster home immediately from the streets. And, even though the author is telling the story from the kittens’ POV, that phrase just struck me as odd in a children’s picture book. Maybe I’m just being overly picky; it just bothers me. The rest of the story is, of course, the happily ever after fairy tale. Swan is loved by all and learns to love his humans.
Although it is a lovely story, I’m not sure I would read it to my kittens. The first part is too real for the very youngest. And as the type is small-medium, and there’s a lot of words, beginning readers might have difficulty with it on their own. All-in-all, a well-written book with lovely illustrations; it’s just not for me.
Rating 3 out of 3 paws for being too raw for my tastes in the beginning.