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Friday, August 31, 2012

Some Cat! Written by Mary Casanova and illustrated by Ard Hoyt. Farrar Straus Giroux, Douglas & McIntyre, 2012. $18.95 ages 4 and up

"Violet knew she was meant for more. She was meant to rule a kingdom, with sharp claws and velvet paws. When anyone stopped by, she arched her royal fur. "Meowwww! Hisssss! Spat!" "That's some cat," people would say."

Violet is like many of the cats one might find at a shelter. Her life until now has not been perfect, and she finds herself left behind while other cats and kittens are chosen to be pets...often the young, good-natured ones. Violet is not that kind of cat.

We can only assume from the tone of the story and Violet's temperament that there are reasons for her behavior. It is hinted at when we first set eyes on her:

"She'd once had a home - with too little food and too much shouting - but she no longer cared to remember it."

Her reaction to anyone who comes near is to hiss and spit, and to offer no encouragement for them to choose her. When a caring couple comes in and decide to take a chance on her, she cannot hide her delight. Off they go! All is well until she meets the two dogs that occupy her new home. Does the fur fly? You bet it does.

Zippity and George are terrified of her belligerent ways, and avoid her as much as possible. She steals their toys, eats first, yowls and growls at them on a daily basis. She loves being alone...until one day.
George and Zippity are out with their owners fishing and Violet is alone in the yard when three strays show up. Violet knows how to protect herself but doesn't have much luck in a three against one showdown. The return of the fishing boat is timely; George and Zippity are fearless in their pursuit of the intruders.

Life suddenly takes on new meaning. Peace and quiet reigns!

You can tell from the front cover pictured above just how adept Ard Hoyt is at creating character. Violet's expressive face is anguished when we first meet her. As the story progresses, he fills the pages with the many faces of Violet...sad, proud, angry, deliriously happy, frightened, antagonistic, contented, and terrified. The action is ongoing and doesn't settle until she is safe in the knowledge that she has found a 'home' and family. Purr, purr, purr.

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