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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Kathy is frequently rescuing stray animals. But when she finds a little kitten, lost and alone, full of fleas and no purrs, she knows that she has to get it to the vet quickly. She begs her mom to drive quickly but carefully just to make sure this small bit of fluff stayed alive. Mom senses that this kitten is more than just another one of Kathy’s rescues, with the bond between Kathy and the kitten they soon called Mitten evident almost immediately. But the test remains: will Kathy live up to her responsibilities of caring properly and regularly for Mitten? Pets need more than love and any child wanting to own a pet needs to fully appreciate the responsibility that goes along with owning one.
Ann Marie Hannon’s picture book story, A Going Home Surprise, is a delightful way to teach young readers the importance of caring for a pet responsibly. The main character, Kathy, is described as a pre-teen, but I think the nature of this story and the beautiful illustrations that accompany it suggest a girl of six or seven. Otherwise, this story flows nicely with clear, simple language and almost rhyming verse. The author’s compassion for animals is evident and the message is clear: it takes more to care for a pet than to just want one. Love is a multi-dimensional responsibility and sometimes a lot of work. Kathy has compassion for animals, but in this story she appears to be appreciative of all that it takes to care for her new pet, Mitten. A beautiful story.