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Friday, August 4, 2017

The Lost Kitten, written by Lee and illustrated by Komako Sakai. Gecko Press, Thomas Allen & Son. 20117. $ 26.99 ages 4 and up

"When she held the kitten,
its tummy moved in and out
and it purred deep in its throat.

"Even though it's so tiny," Hina
said, "it's alive."

The kitten gave a little mew,
as if saying goodbye to its

I am not a 'cat person', but who could possibly resist the wee feline who graces this book's cover? The little girl and her mother who find it on their doorstep are concerned that it seems sickly. The fact that the nearby mother cat seems to be asking for their help is enough to convince another mother to do her best to care for it.

Hina would choose to have a kitten from a pet shop. Her mother is undeterred, cleaning and gently caring for the waif. Hina is intrigued, becoming more and more interested as the kitten explores their home. Together, mother and daughter provide milk, comfort and a collar for their visitor. Mom leaves Hina with her grandma while she goes for cat food.

By now, Hina has fallen in love with the tiny visitor, thinking about a name and intent on watching the little one while her mom is away. But - she can't find it! After looking everywhere, she becomes concerned that the kitten has gone outside and might now be lost. She remembers being lost herself, and that brings understanding for how the kitten must be feeling.

"The cat left us her kitten. Now I have to be its mother.
I have to give it a name. I have to find it."

Distraught, she takes the search outside. But, it's cold and she needs a coat. Inside, she makes a discovery - the front closet and one of Hina's soft sweaters is a perfect spot for a kitten's first snooze. It has been an eventful day!

This is such a sweet and affecting story, made even lovelier with Komako Sakai's textured, smoky illustrations. The kitten is perfectly captured in images that move from defenseless and sickly, to content, clean and cuddly. The reader's mood is altered by her use of blues and pinks as the story progresses. What a joy to see her brilliant work again!

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