Author: Kathy Brodsky

Illustrator: Cameron Bennett

Publisher: Helpingwords

ISBN-13: 978-0-578-05059-1: ISBN-10: 0-578-05059-5

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 As a cat lover, I could not help but be highly amused by the antics of the precocious and self-indulgent feline whose adventures fill the pages of this delightful, oh-so-true-to-life picture book. A rhyming story, Purrsnikitty tells of a cat who is taken home from an animal shelter by a loving family, who absolutely dote on her. But trouble comes in the form of another four-legged interloper—a dog! The reaction is as predictable as it is amusing: “Another pet! What’s wrong with them? / A dog! Why not a mouse?” The answer to that question is, of course, self-explanatory, especially in the light of the fact that, only a few pages earlier, the narrator of this feline tale has described how “Sometimes I like to play around and pounce on things I see, / I may bring home a furry gift [picture of cat sitting proudly in front of upended, reposed in death mouse neatly placed before family] for friends and family.” What happens to the two arch protagonists of this tale, I’ll leave to you to find out…

Brodsky states in her afterword to Purrsnikitty that the idea of writing a book about cats came after she had given a talk to a women’s group, to which she had just read her picture book about her pet dog, Cali, entitled Just Sniffing Around. A member of her audience approached her with the suggestion that she write a book about their feline counterparts, with Purrsnikitty being the result. Purrsnikitty is more than just the standard picture book fare, however, as it also contains discussion questions about cats, other pets and family members. Such questions should encourage the young child to think more deeply about their relations with family pets and their siblings. Consideration of others is a key note of this text, as it teaches the reader an awareness of others, who are not always like themselves.

Brodsky is a licensed psychotherapist, who brings her professional focus to her picture books, of which she has already written three others. Children love the continuing characters in Brodsky’s titles, which include a special pine tree, a red bird and a little girl with red pigtails. The continuity of characters conveys a sense of comfort to children. Purrsnikitty has been used as a creative fundraiser for animal shelters in New England, where a cat contest was held to find a cat to star in the title role. The illustrator, Cameron Bennett, has a young daughter of his own, so is an able portrayer of animals for young people. He also teaches drawing and painting at the New Hampshire Institute of Art, so is keenly aware of the educational benefits to be derived from such media.

A worthwhile investment for any parents who wish to bring up their children to love animals, Purrsnikitty is an ideal and reassuring bedtime companion. In short, it has earned both the cat and dog golden paw print of approval (Meow! Woof!).

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