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Lola and the Rent-a-Cat ISBN: 9781847801395
Jitta, Ceseli Josephus
Published by Frances Lincoln Children's Books, 2010
This is a love story that will appeal to all ages. It isn't necessarily about grandparents. In fact, grandchildren aren't mentioned at all, but it is about bereavement of the very old and how they can cope. Lola and her husband John are very close. They have been married for 56 years, and they do everything together - looking after each other, taking baths together so that Lola can scrub John's back, having glasses of wine together, and 'together they remember the shopping list'. When John begins to become forgetful, Lola is sad, but she soldiers on for them both. But one day John simply falls over: 'His heart stops beating.' Lola is horrified and bereft. After the funeral, she finds herself lonely and sad, and one day as she surfs the internet, she discovers the rentacat site. This, she thinks, has distinct possibilities. She must choose just the right cat, and when she discovers Tim, who is 'slightly older' and 'loves attention and care', she knows she has found the right one. Tim's arrival the next day is a time of joy, and soon they are great pals. They share everything, and in the evenings, Lola sits on her bench with Tim in her lap and remembers the old days. This won't appeal to all children, but the outstanding illustrations full of solid people (and cats), the rather strange and unusual combination of the old and the modern, the tenderness and love between the old man and woman, and the slightly European flavour of it all makes this one for sensitive people everywhere. I loved it, and I hope if I ever face this situation I will be able to pick up the pieces and make a new life (perhaps with a cat like Tim).
Age: 5+