Author: Husted, Ursula Murray
Cilla and Betto are two friends who need a place to call home. The docks in Valletta are too wet, and the scraps of food too scarce. The city's streets are too busy, and the humans too unreliable. But what about the quiet garden from old kitten tales--a place where all cats are welcome, and the humans are always kind? Could the stories really be true? As Cilla and Betto embark on a grand adventure to find out, they begin to spin a tale of their own--one that will take them through the art and stories of many journeyers who came before, and that will bring them to a surprising destination.
The Hornbook (00/03/21)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 09/01/2020 Gr 4–7—In the Maltese capital of Valletta, a young cat named Cilla longs for a life beyond sleeping at the docks and stealing fish. After hearing the story of the mythical "quiet garden," wide-eyed Cilla drags her friend Betto along to find out more about the location of the old door—an entry that will take them to a home where cats are always welcome and well fed. A meeting with wizened church cat Old Paolo sends the two friends on an adventure across land and sea to the island of Gozo. Though they encounter physical and philosophical curveballs on their journey, Cilla and Betto are committed to discovering their ultimate home. Inspired by a past trip to Malta, Husted delivers a thought-provoking exploration of the power of storytelling wrapped up in a charming cat package. Naive, determined Cilla and cynical Betto are a complementary duo who remain loyal to each other despite differing outlooks. Their quest runs parallel with a contemplative thread examining the truth and perspective of stories. Readers will enjoy the visual storytelling that occurs when animals break out of panels to walk through a variety of art and paintings. Colorful, detailed, occasionally busy backgrounds immerse readers in the Malta setting. An extended final note includes all of the featured illustrations, many of which are from or about Malta. VERDICT Sure to spur discussion on how we envision and interpret stories.—Pearl Derlaga, York County P.L., VA - Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.