Leila Rudge, Winston and the Indoor Cat, Walker Books Australia, September 2021, 32 pp., RRP $25.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781760652609
Leila Rudge is an experienced children’s book illustrator and storyteller. In this tale her considerable talents are on display. Winston is an adventurous ‘outdoor’ cat, who manages to find such marvels as a (dead?) fish under a plant. I guess this sets up the book’s debate between the real thing and the canned thing, for Winston comes into contact with The Indoor Cat across a windowpane.
Winston manages to ‘free’ the Indoor Cat and show him the exhilarating outside world, so the two cats exchange experiences. And what decisions this leads to, readers will have to discover for themselves as the story unfolds.
The ink and pencil illustrations are gorgeously coloured and beautifully detailed, while still dreamily producing the suggestion that this is a cats’ world where humans are barely noticed. Leila Rudge achieves this in part by bringing her perspective right down to the kitchen or forest floor where the cats are. This is a simple and magical little book for beginning readers, from one-year-old to five years old, and further if they really love cats.
Reviewed by Kevin Brophy