Today we bring you a review of a delightful book for younger readers. Trouble at the Cat Café, by Katrina Charman, is a story of family and friends pulling together to accomplish the unexpectedly complicated task of opening a brand-new cat café. It’s a story of not giving up even in the face of difficult obstacles. And most importantly from our perspective, it’s a story about people who really love cats and want to help them.
Our main character, Isla, is just entering secondary school—you know that age, when it’s so easy to dream big. Isla’s dream is to open a cat café, and she has her whole family—her mum, her gran, older sister Tilda, and younger brother Milo—on her side. Poppy’s Place is to be a sort of refuge where people can relax and mingle with cats while enjoying tea or coffee and some of Gran’s delicious baked goods. And who knows, some of the guests might just decide to adopt one of the cats they meet.
The only trouble (well, the first bit of trouble) is that everyone is just so busy. Starting secondary school is no easy thing, and Isla worries about whether she’ll make new friends—this is complicated when some mean girls (you know the ones) make fun of her for liking cats. She has to wonder if her sister’s “just be yourself” advice is going to work out. Plus, Mum is so tied up with her work as a veterinary nurse, she barely has time to start on all the paper work that has to be done before Poppy’s Place can open.
About that paper work (the second bit of trouble)… There are just so many forms to fill out, so many boxes to tick. And the “to-do” list always seems to grow faster than the “done” list. So many things to buy, things to clean, things to paint, things to plan. There’s a garden to clean up, a cat playground to build. For Isla, there’s a new friend to make. And then there’s the official inspection (the third bit of trouble), just days before the grand opening.
Isla and family get through it all with teamwork—and with plenty of help from friends, too.
Caring for cats
Our favorite part of this book was how Isla demonstrates her intuitive cat-care skills and her love for cats. She doesn’t just hang up cute cat posters in her room; she makes a plan to help cats and gets her whole family involved in making it happen. We love that!
We also enjoyed Lucy Truman’s illustrations, of which the cats were our favorite part (of course) because they are just so cute.
This book is the second in a series, but it stands fine on its own; you can enjoy this volume even if you haven’t read the first.
A note on the "Paws Up" system: Miss C gives either one or two paws up. One paw is for a good read; two paws is for a great read. She never gives three or four paws because that would require her to lie on her back...and Miss C does not do that!