Chi's Home Sweet Home
Finished: Nov. 30, 2010
First Published: 2004 (English Trans. Jun. 29, 2010)
Genre: children, manga, humour, realistic
Acquired: Received a review copy from Vertical.
Reason for Reading: This is a Cybils '10 nominee and required reading for me as a graphic novels panelist.
I've had pet cats in the past but I'm not what you could call one of those "cat people" so it's hard to believe, but I was completely charmed with this book. An easy book to read with many wordless panels and sparse simple text that can be read by any 2nd grader. The illustrations virtually tell the story by themselves they are so expressive. This is the story of a little kitten, a few months old, that gets lost and is found by a toddler and rescued by his parents even though their apartment does not allow pets. They intend to find a home for the kitten but as they try and fail to find anyone willing to take her, the kitten, eventually named Chi, becomes part of the family and they keep her secretly. This book really gets into the mind of a kitten and is hilarious at interpreting the world as seen through the eyes of a cat. I burst out laughing several times, it was so funnily true. At times I wondered though who the book was really written for, children or those grown-ups who love cats. There is a specially poignant story line where the kitten, after being taken to the vet by the Daddy, won't let him near her and the Dad tries several ways to get back into her good graces with not much success. A scene of him stroking her while she sleeps is strikingly sad. But don't worry Chi finds out Dad is fun again all on her own. For any children's library with a popular manga section this series is going to be a must have. I just loved it!!
PS - Several days after reading the book, I found myself on the phone with my 21 yo son, a cat person, and ended up telling him the story of this book almost verbatim and had him laughing. Needless to say, I've promised he can read it when he's down for Christmas!