Published by Neal Porter Books
Summary: The first four pages are wordless illustrations, showing a child riding on a train, then pulling the string for a stop. Emerging, the child declares, “I know what it’s like to be small in the city.” For a few pages, the narrator describes that experience–it’s loud, people don’t see you, it can be hard to know the right thing to do. Then, “But I know you. You’ll be all right. If you want, I can give you some advice.” It sounds like the subject in question is homeless, as the advice is all about avoiding dark alleyways and resting under a warm dryer vent. But then, “In the park I have a favorite bench. Sometimes my friend is there….You could sit on her lap and she will pet you.” The child posts a sign for a lost cat, and it all becomes clear. There’s a warm hug from Mom waiting at home, and the final page shows cat prints in the snow, opening up the possibility that the cat has returned. 40 pages; ages 4-8.
Pros: Wow, this book really packs a punch with some pretty spare text. I like that the ending is ambiguous but with a hint of optimism. The illustrations are perfect, with the blurry snowscapes that could be the result of teary eyes.
Cons: This seemed a bit dark for several pages, which could worry some listeners.