cover image Archie Snufflekins Oliver Valentine Cupcake Tiberius Cat

Archie Snufflekins Oliver Valentine Cupcake Tiberius Cat

Katie Harnett. Flying Eye (Consortium, dist.), $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-909263-37-6

In debut talent Harnett’s poignant and quietly humorous portrait of a community coming together, there’s a calico cat with a semi-permanent scowl on Blossom Street, and he gets around. “Every morning he visits Mr. Green at number three,” a fisherman who offers him a fresh fish straight from the skillet. Later, the cat poses for a still life painting for Miss Fernandez (who calls him Valentine), digs through a vegetable patch with a Sikh man and his son (who think of him as Tiberius), and watches birds beside redheaded twins with binoculars, among other destinations. After the cat settles in with Mrs. Murray at number 11, who “no one ever visits,” the neighbors take to the streets in search of the cat. Before long, Mrs. Murray’s home has become the center of a street whose residents’ backgrounds and interests are as diverse as can be, but who share, among other things, a love for one particular cat. Mixing small vignettes with larger street scenes, Harnett nimbly juggles her large cast and the twin emotions of loneliness and contented companionship that she threads though this moving story. Ages 3–5. (Sept.)