The Cat That Was Nothing But Trouble

Children - Animals
26 Pages
Reviewed on 11/26/2018
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Robert A. Groves for Readers' Favorite

The Cat That Was Nothing but Trouble by Anne Toole is the story of Sweetie Pie the cat who becomes lost one day and is found by puppy Lee and his female adult owner. The cat, whom Lee names Trouble, is quite a handful. The cat bullies Lee, eats his food, plays with his toys, and causes all types of mischief for which Lee is blamed. Lee quickly becomes despondent and wishes Trouble would leave his house and return it to the peaceful abode it was prior to the cat’s arrival. Just when Lee thinks all hope is lost for the peaceful existence he once knew to return, a man arrives at the front door one day. It is Sweetie Pie’s owner who is there to reclaim her and take her home. Lee is once again the happy puppy he was prior to the cat being brought into his environment.

Anne Toole’s imaginative children’s story, The Cat That Was Nothing but Trouble, is a tale with which any household with mixed pets will quickly identify. The book is rich in themes such as sibling rivalry, accepting others who are different, being a good house guest, respect for others, bullying, and how to play well together. The story’s rhythmic prose easily maintains one’s interest and will be a favorite read-along for children in either the home or classroom. It can be a story for an afternoon reading or bedtime. Toole does a respectful job of treading the conflict which develops between Lee, the cat, and the human characters. She addresses Lee’s vulnerability, and no doubt his fear the family may disown him, with masterfully crafted words and phrases. And no review would be complete on this book without a shout out for the brilliant illustrations from Richa Kinra. The colorful and bright illustrations magnificently complement the writing. This book is a joy to read and will be time well spent sharing with any child in your life.

Jack Magnus

The Cat That Was Nothing But Trouble is an animal picture book for children written by Anne Toole and illustrated by Richa Kinra. Lee was a small puppy who had a peaceful and comfortable life. He loved his bed and his toys, and he lived happily with his human mom and dad. Everything changed, however, when Mom found a lost cat and brought it home. The cat was bigger than Lee, and Lee was very intimidated by both the cat’s size and its propensity to tease and bother him. Lee started spending more and more time hiding in corners and under tables, and he began feeling less and less a valued part of his family. To make matters even worse, Lee was constantly getting in trouble for the mischievous things that the troublesome cat would do. Lee was starting to feel depressed by the situation and didn’t know what to do about it, but then suddenly something unexpected happened.

The Cat That Was Nothing But Trouble works so well on a number of levels. Most obviously, it highlights the need for human companions to carefully monitor the situation when a new animal is brought into the home. Even in the best of circumstances, that new animal companion can make one’s current pet feel passed over or not as loved. When the new animal is larger, older or more powerful, an unhealthy dynamic can result. This book goes further than that, however, in that it teaches kids to understand and recognize when they are being bullied. Lee’s inability to verbalize his side of the story to his human parents is an excellent springboard for discussions about what a kid in Lee’s situation could and should do.

Richa Kinra’s illustrations are marvelous and each panel fits the story line so well. The expressions she gives to poor little Lee are pitiable indeed as the puppy tries to cope with his new and very uncomfortable existence. Sometimes, the new arrival can be nothing but trouble, but discussing concerns with a parent, teacher or caregiver can help kids avoid the stress and resolve conflicts before they escalate. This fable goes a long way towards encouraging kids to do just that. The Cat That Was Nothing But Trouble is most highly recommended.