cover image Little Bo: The Story of Bonnie Boadicea

Little Bo: The Story of Bonnie Boadicea

Julie Andrews Edwards. Hyperion Books, $16.99 (96pp) ISBN 978-0-7868-0514-3

Edwards's (The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles) sliver of a tale traces the adventures of a small gray cat named Boadicea, ""Bo"" for short. Wealthy Mrs. Edith Edge is mortified to discover that a black stray has fathered the six kittens born from her pedigree white cat (""Can you imagine what the ladies at the Cat Association would say if they knew about this,"" she says). Save for one--the spitting image of her mother--she plans to toss them out on their furry ears. But first, the sextet of felines goes on an excursion with their mother to meet their father, who prophetically names the tiniest of the litter Boadicea: ""She was a great warrior queen, brave and fearless."" After a few brushes with danger, Bo finds a home with Billy, a first mate on a fishing trawler (who names her Bonnie, ""Bo"" for short). Though Bo is responsible for several turning points in the novel (a bike collision that saves her and her siblings from being drowned in the river; Billy's departure from the boat), her personality remains oddly undefined. In Cole's (Livingstone Mouse) full-page paintings, which open each chapter, and spot illustrations, his portraits of the kittens are charming. But he often opts for a rear view of the human and animal characters even in pivotal scenes, which distances readers from the action. Still, children will come away with the moral that, like Bo, their size may be small, but they can accomplish big things. Ages 8-up. (Oct.)