Cat on the Hill by Michael Foreman
|Cat on the Hill by Michael Foreman|
|Genre: For Sharing|
|Reviewer: Jo Heffer|
|Summary: There's a lone cat who lives at the top of a hill near a seaside town. This cat is a survivor which is not too difficult in the summer months when there are many visitors around to feed him scraps. However, in the winter it is a different matter when offerings are sparse and he has to contend with all the rough, tough neighbourhood cats. How will he survive?|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 32||Date: November 2011|
The story is told through the eyes of the nameless cat. It starts in Summer when he tells how he loves living at the top of the hill with its tremendous views of the sea and the constant visitors who are only too happy to share their sandwiches and the drips from their ice creams. Life is good even with horrible squawky gulls trying to steal his food. He explains how he used to be a ship's cat until both the skipper and the ship became too old to sail the seas.
The story moves on to Autumn and, although it is getting colder and there are fewer visitors, the cat still gets by through visiting the town at night and finding scraps from outside the bakery or from dropped takeaways. However, when the story moves on to Winter, life is hard and the poor cat feels starving. Chased away by the aggressive town cats, he finds nothing to eat. It's even worse when snow starts falling. Luckily, there is at least one kind soul about who comes and saves the day.
This is a sweet simple story that illustrates how fortunes can change through the passing of the seasons. My daughter loved the fact that the story is told by the cat himself which seemed to really help her to empathise with the way that he was feeling. We felt that this was far more effective than if the story had been written in the third person. For a picture book, there is quite a lot of text, but none of it is too difficult, making this an ideal read for a newly confident reader as well as for sharing together at bedtime.
There are lovely throughout the story and it is fascinating to note the subtle change in colours with the different seasons. There is also a subtle shift in the atmosphere created and some of the images of the mean town cats are really quite menacing.
One slight concern that I had when I was reading the book with my daughter was that the cat keeps referring to a 'damned dog'. This is not an expression that I would use and certainly not one that I would wish my daughter to pick up on and start using because she had read it in a book. The expression seems quite out of place and unnecessary in a book that is aimed at young children. This is such a shame because the rest of the book and the sentiments conveyed are really rather lovely.
If you are interested in this book, how about taking a look at another by the same author?
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