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Shirley Lalonde
Illustrated by Lindsay Grater

Toronto, Scholastic-TAB, 1989. 32pp, paper, $4.95
ISBN 0-590-73130-0. (Also available in French as Maman et le chat). CIP

Pre-school to Grade 3/Ages 4 to 8
Reviewed by Janet Tomkins.

Volume 18 Number 3
1990 May

Martha desperately wants a cat, but her mother won't be persuaded. She isn't convinced when Martha excitedly tells her about a Persian cat at the pet store. She remains adamant when Martha brings news that her friend Gina's cat has had kittens. But she starts to waver when a tiny rain-drenched kitten comes meowing at the door one fall afternoon. Inevitably, the little kitten quickly wins Mom's heart, and Martha's dearest wish is soon fulfilled.

Although Cat and Mom Story is extremely predictable, the story-line is perhaps appealing to young children. The telling, however, lacks sparkle, and the characterization is weak. Children may enjoy the repetition each time Martha's mom explains her reasons for not wanting a cat, but much of the text is stilted, and towards the end it becomes saccharine: Mom's cliche' response when Martha wonders about her sudden change of heart is that "Cats, like little girls, are very easy to love."

The illustrations, like the text, are very banal. The borders around each page are filled with intriguing tiny drawings that correspond to the action and dialogue, but even this delightful feature is almost lost in an overall visual presentation that is pale and static.

Despite its flaws, Cat and Mom Story may find an appreciative audience among the legion of young pet-lovers. Librarians, however, will hesitate to buy it on account of the paper binding.

Janet Tomkins, Fraser Valley Regional Library, Chilliwack, B.C.
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