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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Charley's Cat Family is a chapter book for children, grades K-3, written by Jeff Magnuson and illustrated by Bettina Brasko. Charley loves cats. He grew up with Max, a shelter cat his parents had adopted when he was small. Now that he was working and living on his own, Charley wasn’t sure it would be fair to adopt a cat when he was gone all the time, but he still enjoyed going to the local shelter and playing with the kittens and cats who were waiting for their forever homes. Then one day, he decided he was going to adopt a cat. He had recently moved to a house with a yard, and there was a lot of space for just one person. Charley found a shelter and spent hours trying to select his new best friend. Finally, he made his decision, and he told the shelter staff he’d be back the next day after he had bought supplies for his new pet. Stella was going to be perfect. The staff had some surprising news for him when he got back the next day, however; Stella had a best friend, and they were hoping the two friends would not be separated. Could Charley find room for one more kitty?
Jeff Magnuson’s chapter book for children, Charley's Cat Family, is a heartwarming tale that follows the pet adoption process and details the crazy and unpredictable things that can happen while everyone settles down into their new living situations. Magnuson’s story covers all the basics, such as separate food and water bowls and the inevitable scrapes and squabbles that are likely to occur with new adoptees. I loved watching as Charley realizes he also needs to change his own expectations as he learns to live with his new family. Bettina Brasko’s illustrations are wonderful, especially her portrayals of Stella and Steve, and Charley’s old pal, Max. Each panel is brightly colored and fits the story perfectly. The vocabulary is geared for new readers, but it’s also a grand selection for story time, particularly when a family is considering adopting a new pet. Charley's Cat Family is most highly recommended.