Hat Cat

Candlewick. Feb. 2022. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781536213669.
K-Gr 2–An elderly man, who lives alone, takes joy in sitting on his back porch and feeding the squirrels. He places peanuts on his hat and, sitting “as still and welcoming as a grand old tree,” he allows the animals to feast. One day he picks his hat up from the bench and discovers under it a very small orange and white kitten. The kitten, promptly named Hat, has the run of the house and can do whatever he likes except go outside. Worried the animal might leave or harm the squirrels, the old man keeps Hat in the house at all times, though the feline clearly wants to venture out. One morning the old man is gone and the kitten is tended to by a woman and her young daughter. During the man’s extended absence, the caretakers learn something about Hat that his owner doesn’t understand until he returns home. The repetition of text creates a nice flow, while charming pastel watercolors and colored pencil illustrations depict a cozy, plant-filled home and an amiable relationship between cat and human.
VERDICT An additional purchase, this would fit in collections dealing with intergenerational relationships and friendships from unexpected places.

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