November 2013, Bodley Head, 64 pages, Hardback, Review copy
Themes: owning a cat, cat fights, cats wandering where they shouldn't
Summary from Random House Children's Publishing
Archie the cat and Archie the dog live next door to each other on a street full of feline friends and foes. Read about their adventures - including Archie the cat spending a scary night trapped in a neighbour's attic - in this gentle, lyrical, completely charming book for younger readers. Perfect for all animal lovers.
It's obvious that Ruth has cats. It's not the care tips like brushing a cat regularly (unlike Archie my cat hates being brushed), but the insight into how inquisitive cats are, and how this curiosity gets Archie into trouble (thankfully it doesn't kill him, despite coming close). It's the knowledge of the routine that Archie liked doing certain actions at specific times, the way she describes Archie getting shut in places for days-thankfully my cat has only been shut in the garage and the cupboard under the stairs for a few hours, although she must have been scared since she is a rescue cat and had a horrific time before being found by some kind builders.
That's why I totally understood Archie's issues with the stairs-if a cat has something or somewhere they don't like they will do everything to avoid it. I felt awful when Archie went missing-I can't begin to imagine having to wait 12 days for a cat to return- a few hours is hard enough to deal with! I liked the sensitive and matter of fact way which she dealt with death of a cat-it's the hardest part of being a pet owner, but one we all face at one time or another. All in all Ruth captures what life is like with a cat in a short read that certainly has me wanting to hear more of Archie's adventures.
For more animal adventures check out the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home series which include Coco's Story by Amy Watson (Children's, 7 years +, 10E/10E)