Originally published in Japan, this picture book demonstrates compassion and empathy as a mother and daughter, Hina, take in a lost kitten. A stray mother cat brings her kitten to their doorstep, scrawny with goopy eyes. Hina would prefer a cute kitten from a pet store. They care for the little kitten, give it some milk and Hina holds it and listens to its purr. Her mother heads out for milk, leaving Hina to care for the kitten. But when Hina turns back, the kitten has disappeared. Hina thinks of the time that she too got lost, knowing what the little cat must be feeling. She knows she has to help.
Lee’s text is gentle and moving. The connection between child and kitten is delicately created, anchored by their similar experiences of being lost. Lee allows the story to play out, using a light touch as the story spins and giving the reader the space to make connections themselves.
The illustrations by Sakai are equally gentle and expressive. Done in pastel colors with strong textural lines that carry from one image to the next. The kitten is depicted with real care, its bones almost showing through its fur. Tiny and fragile, it still fills the pages with hope.
Beautiful and delicate, this picture book is filled with compassion and love. Appropriate for ages 3-5.
Reviewed from copy received from Gecko Press.