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When I judged this book by its wonderful cover, I thought it was going to be a hilarious book. I was pleasantly surprised to find within a heartfelt, beautiful story with subtle touches of humor. The cat on Blossom Street belongs to no one and everyone at the same time--he wanders from house to house, acquiring different names for each person he encounters (Archie, Snufflekins, Oliver, etc.). But one house is never visited--number eleven, where lonely old Mrs. Murray lives. When the cat shows up on her doorstep and disappears from his daily rounds, the concerned neighbors search for him and end up on Mrs. Murray’s doorstep. It turns out the cat has settled into Mrs. Murray’s peacefully quiet routine--knitting, sitting by the fire, watching television. He has, the neighbors realize, found a place to belong. 11 Blossom Street then becomes the most frequently visited house in the neighborhood, full of friends old and new.
In this age of hyper-connectedness of social media and smartphones, it is all too easy to forget how important simple human-to-human interaction is. And how that interaction is what builds a community that supports and shares with one another. And how those communities, strung together, are what could make our world a better place. Harnett has created a lovely reminder of the importance of noticing the loneliest, the neediest, in our midst. It is a necessary, touching reminder that will resonate for young and old, paired with warm, expressive, detailed illustrations that depict a beautifully diverse neighborhood. The text is minimal and the pacing superb, making this perfect for reading aloud, for storytime or bedtime.
Archie Snufflekins Oliver Valentine Cupcake Tiberius Cat, I love you.
Archie, Cupcake, Oliver, Valentine… the cat who lives on Blossom Street is called something different by everyone, and loved by all. But there is one house on the street that he hasn't visited yet…
In this sweet story, Katie Harnett explores how one well-loved cat can change a lonely woman's life and bring a small community together.
About the Author
Katie Harnett graduated from an Illustration BA at the University of the West of England, followed by an MA in Children's Book Illustration at Cambridge School of Art. She received the Bologna Children's Book Fair ARS IN FABULA Grant Award in 2015.
The focus on friendly camaraderie and community-building will be appreciated by many adults eager to share their values, and this quiet tale, with the children in their lives. —Kirkus Reviews
In her debut as both author and illustrator, Harnett gets everything right. Her story is touching without being overly sentimental (which is no easy feat). And her gorgeous illustrations perfectly suit the mood. —The New York Times
[A] poignant and quietly humorous portrait of a community coming together [...] Mixing small vignettes with larger street scenes, Harnett nimbly juggles her large cast and the twin emotions of loneliness and contented companionship that she threads though this moving story. —Publisher’s Weekly
Katie Harnett’s charming story celebrates the simultaneous cunning and caring of one very special cat, and his ability to bring together a whole community of humans. —Janet Minichiello, Politics & Prose
Harnett has created a lovely reminder of the importance of noticing the loneliest, the neediest, in our midst. It is a necessary, touching reminder that will resonate for young and old, paired with warm, expressive, detailed illustrations that depict a beautifully diverse neighborhood. —Hannah DeCamp, Avid Bookshop
It gets right to the nub of modern urban life — the wonderful diversity, coupled with the isolation and awkwardness that means we may just about know the names of the people next door but, beyond that, it’s a smile and a nod at best. —A Bookish Life
Archie is truly a cat looking for his forever home, and I'm proud to say he has a home on my shelf! —Let's Talk Picture Books, Best Picture Books of 2016