Welcome to Kitty Corner!
Mia and Michael Battelli want a pet more than anything. And Mia thinks a cuddly cat or kitten would be perfect. But her parents aren’t sure the kids are ready for the responsibility.
Then Mia spots a tiny calico foraging for food. Callie doesn’t seem to belong to anyone–and she’s hurt. Mia can’t just leave her to fend for herself! But what if she can’t convince her parents to keep the sweet little kitten? Will Callie ever find a home?
Kitty Corner is a series (currently a quartet, and I’m not sure if more books are planned) of children’s chapter books about the Battelli family and their foster cats. It’s written by Ellen Miles, who you may or may not recognize as the author the Puppy Place series; I haven’t read that one yet, but I imagine it’s quite similar. So if you like this, you’ll probably enjoy that, as well; I’ll definitely be giving it a try soon.
Callie, the first book in the series, tells the story of the Battelli family’s first cat and their decision to become a foster home. Because while Mia desperately wants a cat and Michael feels the same about a dog, their mother feels their lives aren’t yet ready to raise any pets–at least not until they get out of their city apartment and into a house with a yard and some space to grow. But then Mia stumbles across an injured kitten outside the apartment building, and with the help of the local grocer, Mr. Li, they bring the kitten inside and take her to the vet.
But then comes the question of what to do with her. They can’t keep her… so who will? Ultimately, the decision is made for the Battelli family to give Callie to a more suitable home–I won’t spoil whose!–and open their apartment up to the possibility of more short-term kitty boarders. It should be a spectacular series for children who have fostered animals or plan to, and those children who are–like myself at that age–absolutely in love with all things feline should certainly enjoy Mia and Michael’s story.
There’s one bit of weirdness that I can’t say I appreciated, and that’s the occasional slip into the cat’s POV. It was quite weird and unexpected, and honestly, it threw off my suspension of disbelief. When it comes to animal fiction, there are two main kinds: the human-led stories, in which the animals are treated as intelligent but inherently different, and the animal-led stories, in which the animals are anthropomorphized and their intelligence is communicated via complex human thought and English (or whatever language the book happens to be written in). But this kind of blended the two, and that frankly creeps me out a bit. I definitely hope that doesn’t continue in the rest of the books and the Puppy Place series… but I suppose if it does, I’ll simply have to get over it.
Like I said, recommended to animal lovers and children who foster or are interested in doing so, and I’ll definitely be reading more from Ellen Miles. The books are short and not too complex, but if the rest of them are like Callie, they’re cute, fun reads. And for children a bit too old to get into such short chapter books, I highly recommend checking out the similar Animal Ark series.
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