Lost and Found Cat by Doug Kuntz and Amy Shrodes. Illustrated by Sue Cornelison (Crown Books).
This is a story again about refugees fleeing their homes but this time with a bit of a twist. A bit like the Austrian fictional story Flucht by Niki Glattauer and Verena Hochleitner that I reviewed back in September, this story is about a family that take their cat with them. The story line focuses on the cat’s journey to a new home. Rather than a fictional tale however, this one is true.
Dominic (8): I thought the photos at the end were interesting because I hadn’t realised it was a true story.
Emma (5): The cat’s really cute!
The story begins with the family leaving Iraq and, unwilling to leave their beloved cat Kunsush behind, they take him with them, hiding him in a basket. It all goes well until the boat-crossing to Greece, when the cat basket gets broken in the chaos and Kunkush runs away in fear.
The family are distraught at the loss of their cat but have to move on to their next destination. Kunkush meanwhile tries to fit in with a group of local cats but is rejected by them. Some volunteers come across a starving, bedraggled Kunkush and, having heard the story of the family who lost their cat, set out to reunite them.
It is a really moving story of people’s love for animals and the lengths people will go to out of human kindness. The fact that the story was shared so far and wide on social media before the book was produced, shows how it has touched a core with many people. I find it incredible to think that the family managed to hide the cat in a basket for so long without him being discovered.
The book produced an emotional response in Dominic, who found it difficult to listen on once Kunkush went missing. He wanted to skip through to where Kunkush had been taken in and then reunited. The rejection by the other cats can also be seen as a metaphor for the rejection of people by other people. By concentrating on the cat’s journey, it opened up discussion about the human journey, too. The map at the back really helped to visualise just how far this family and their cat had travelled.
Emma has come back to this time and again, wanting to read about Kunkush’s long journey and smiling happily at the end when the family are reunited with Kunkush.
For more books on a similar topic, please see the following links
The Journey by Francesca Sanna (Flying Eye Books)
Tomorrow by Nadine Kaadan, translated from Arabic by the author (Lantana Publishing)
Dazwischen: ich by Julya Rabinowich (Hanser)
Flucht (Flight) by Niki Glattauer and Verena Hochleitner (Tyrolia Verlag)
Mama’s Nightingale, A Story of Immigration and Separation by Edwidge Danticat, illustrated by Leslie Staub (Dial Books)
Do you speak chocolate by Caz Lester
Apfelblüten und Jasmin by Carolin Phillips