Title: Kittens in the KitchenKittens in the Kitchen
Author: Ben M. Baglio
Illustrator: Shelagh McNicholas
Pages: 147
Reading Level: 9 -12
Star Rating: ★★

Animal Ark!

The Story.

Mandy has made a wonderful discovery. Walton, the stray cat that lives at her school, has had kittens! She is keeping them in the home of the caretaker, Williams. Mandy can’t wait to see them!

But sorrow attends their first visit. Mr. Williams, who was previously unaware of the kittens in his home, insists that the kittens be taken away. But they are far too young to be separated from their mother! And where could Mandy find homes for four kittens in a small town like Welford?

Discussion.

Oddly enough, the two things I liked the most about Mandy in other installments of the series – her warm relationship with her parents and sisterly relationship with James – were both altered.

Or perhaps the other way is the altered way. In any case, Mandy is less obedient to her parents, and she receives some boy/girl teasing from both her father and grandfather.

In addition, Mr. and Mrs. Williams, the couple in whose house the kittens were born, have a strained relationship. He is depicted as a cranky bore, while she is sweet and understanding (though often exasperated with him). Predictably, Mr. Williams is dead-set against keeping the kittens for any length of time while Mrs. Williams is compassionate and willing to keep them for a time. And, as usual, although she has no right to, Mandy interferes.

First, she trespasses – enters the Williams’ home without their knowledge or consent. Then, she proceeds to heighten the discord between husband and wife. And when Mr. Williams, understandably annoyed that the cats have ruined his best shirt, demands that they be place in homes by the end of the week, or be turned over to the pound, Mandy doesn’t “think it is possible to hate someone as much as she hated Mr. Williams just then.” [pg. 123]

She really is so intolerant. But, in the end, Mr. Williams becomes a good person by allowing his wife to keep one of the cats, and Mandy forgives him.

Oh, and big surprise, we find out that Mandy is a vegetarian. That cracks me up a bit. Oh, and we also learn that Mandy considers the killing of innocent kittens murder. Or how about this one?

“To keep a pet you have to be a sensible, caring person. Animals have rights, you know, and one of those rights is to belong to a good responsible owner!” [pg. 83]

It gets even better when she starts comparing taking in unwanted animals with caring for abandoned children. Say, what?

‘Heck’ and ‘darn’ are each used twice.

Conclusion. Worse than the typical Animal Ark installment.

Review © 2013 Laura Verret

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