PEREIRA, Janet (text) Gabriella Klepatski (illus.) Blackie the Fisher-cat Craig Potton, 2014 unpaged NZ$19.99 pbk ISBN 9781927213032 SCIS 1659565 hdbk 978197213049
This is a warm, poignant story of love, loss and recovery that captures the timeless connections between humans and their pets. Told through the voice of a grandchild, the story tells of the passing of Nana and the impact that this has on Grandpop. He is lonely, reads and sleeps a lot but when early spring comes and Grandpop takes the caravan out of the garage, and mum fills the cupboards with treats, Grandpop takes off on a journey to the wild spaces of this country, a journey that re-enacts past times. The double page spread of Grandpop cooking tea under a clear and starry night is particularly touching. Inspired by a true event, the author weaves the story of a cat turning up at the caravan door, wanting to be fed and wanting to be loved. This is the focus of the unfolding of the rest of the narrative. The illustrator gives extraordinary emotive depth and further detail through her painting techniques (soft palette in pencil and watercolour I suspect), personal artistic style and choice of depicted moment. What we see is not the glamour of modernity but the rustic space of rural remoteness. And almost hidden is Blackie the fisher-cat. This is a story that grandparents need to have to share with their grandchildren! Highly recommended.
reviewed by John McKenzie