This Story Is Not About A Kitten by Randall de Sève, illustrated by Carson Ellis

This Story Is Not About A Kitten by Randall de Seve, illustrated by Carson Ellis. Random House Studio, 2022. 9780593374535

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

Format: Hardcover picture book

What did you like about the book? A Mom and her daughter are taking their dog for a walk when the dog tugs on the leash discovering a kitten hiding under a car.  A kitten, “hungry and dirty, scared and alone, meowing sadly, needing a home.”  Mom and daughter and dog peer under the car at the kitten.  What to do? While a neighbor holds onto the dog, Mom and child lay flat on the ground peering under the car at the kitten.  The repeating refrain adds a new line with each page. The big, red-haired and bearded twins bring a box, the man drinking tea brings a saucer and some milk.  Soon six people – plus the dog- are lying on the ground staring at the kitten trying to coax it out. The kitten “clawed and hissed and fought a big fight” until – it was in the box with the milk. “’We’ll call her Amber’, everyone agreed. But who would take her home?” “The landlord says no pets.  We’re moving.  I’m allergic.  Could we?”

The simplicity of Ellis’s gouache illustrations is so perfectly suited to this simple, yet profoundly moving story of kindness and community. Neighbors who do not know one another come together to save a life. Characters present as Black, white, Hispanic and Asian. They unite over this kitten for whom they are all now attached.

Anything you did not like about the book? Perfect.

To whom would you recommend this book? The repeating refrain makes this one perfect for storytimes with the children joining in. It is also one that will be read multiple times.

Who should buy this book? Public libraries and child care centers

Where would you shelve it? Picture books

Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Katrina Yurenka, Retired Librarian, Contributor, Youth Services Book Review

Date of Review: October 29, 2022

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