Children and pets just seem to be
attracted to each other. Even for those children who find dogs too
loud and rambunctious, a cat will most certainly attract every
child. Natural feelings of nurturing and protection will surely be
awakened upon hearing about the orange cat that begins this story
caught up in a storm of rain and thunder.
As she drags her wet, furry self out
of a ditch, she stumbles upon a small brick building. The cat senses
this means there will be people and food and warmth. But finding no
sign of humans, she pushes herself through a slot in a wooden box on
the porch, and falls asleep. The next morning kind voices and gentle
hands lift the cat out of the wooden box, and we see that she has
been sleeping among returned books in the drop box of a library.
The exhausted cat is given a basket,
lined with a soft sweater, and a small dish of tuna. "Come on,
library cat, please eat!" says the librarian. The cat begins to purr
and rub against their legs.
Rochelle and Lisa, the librarians,
search for a suitable name for their newfound friend. Since it is
only a few days until Halloween, they decide to give this
orange-colored cat the appropriate name of Pumpkin Cat.
So Pumpkin Cat paws through some
books and explores the echoing rooms. This certainly is a warm, safe
place to be. But she knows that homes are "more than walls and a
roof to keep out the rain." As Pumpkin Cat gazes out the window, she
isn't quite sure what is missing.
The next morning the front door of
the library opens and a second-grade class pours noisily into the
room. When Rochelle, the librarian, settles the children on the
floor, a little girl with braids calls the cat to her. As Pumpkin
Cat curls up on the girl's lap, she remembers that this was "part of
having a home -- a warm lap and someone to pet her."
But when night falls and the library
is empty again, Pumpkin Cat walks around the building, looking for a
friend. Neither the stuffed sock monkey nor the noisy mice in the
cellar will play with her, so she sleeps.
[to top of second column in
The next day lots of children return
to the library yard, but everyone looks strange and different. They
are wearing hats and wigs and frightening masks. They laugh and
chase each other and bob for apples. All this childish behavior
frightens Pumpkin Cat and she hides in the bushes until the
librarians call her into the building for the night. Pumpkin Cat
hesitates on the porch as she faces another long night with no
children or kind librarians to keep her company.
"What's this, Rochelle?" says Lisa,
looking at the basket on the top step. She pulls off the blanket to
reveal a tiny black sleeping kitten with a note that reads: "My name
is Halloween Cat. I hear this library likes cats."
And this is how Pumpkin Cat's
library becomes a true home to her. What follows is the sweet ending
of the story, showing the interaction of cat and kitten as they
settle in to become fast friends.
Amy June Bates' watercolor
illustrations are simple and soft, with great use of orange, yellow,
green and brown. The artwork saturates this story with warm autumn
and holiday feelings that I welcome at this time of year.
I also enjoyed this book because,
working in a library myself, I would love to have a feline friend to
share my day with.
Whether you and your child like
cats, frequent the library, enjoy stories with a Halloween setting,
or all of these strike your fancy, I'm sure you will like sharing
To enjoy this and other books, visit
the Lincoln Public Library at 725 Pekin St., or call the Youth
Services Department at 732-5732.
Perry, Youth Services Department,