Our Sunday morning children’s book:  Blackie the fisher-cat by Janet Pereira, illustrated by Gabriella Klepatski

In our house, an early start for mum generally means an early start for the kids. Mr 3 seems to have a super-sonic-mum-radar that can sense the moment I’m up, no matter how carefully and quietly I try to tip-toe around. And this morning, I had to get up extra-early – because  I’m going to the Avondale markets to talk to voters – so you can imagine  my face-palm moment at 5.05am when, after getting up quietly, I heard the words ‘Muuuuuum’. Eek I thought, it’s all over! Panic.

After taking a deep breath I thought about the options. Try to get him down and then do a take-two-attempt – which would likely fail as the ‘mum-radar is on’ or choose a good book, cuddle up with him in bed and read to him until his dad wakes up. I went with Option Two and asked Luka to choose a book for mummy to read. (By the by this is all in the context of keeping emergency option three in the backpocket – wake up his father early and do hand-over while I try and get ready as my toddler cries for me….hmmm)

Now the reason I felt compelled to write, is because the book that Luka chose this morning was so beautiful it brought tears to my eyes. It’s a children’s book called Black the fisher-cat by Janet Pereira, illustrated by Gabriella Klepatski. Without knowing it, Luka had brought me a book to read to him – which actually I needed to read for myself. Because I’m still grieving for my nana – and this book is about an unexpected friendship between a grandfather and a stray cat. It’s a gentle, quiet, moving story – set in Aotearoa – and is told in a way that, if you read it softly and and slowly, the depth of simple words and sentences, combined with the beautiful imagery, create a rich tapestry of emotion.

My favourite line in the book is ‘Still a touch of winter in the air.’ It’s such a simple sentence, yet so powerful in the context of a story of love, loneliness, companionship and joy. And then when you turn the page – wow.  With stars spattered across a a dusky sky, grandpop sits alone by his camper with only quiet harakeke to keep him company. And then the book, gently and slowly shifts in tone and pace as the fisher-cat chooses grandpa as her companion.

This is a New Zealand children’s book that will bring joy to your house – especially on mornings when companionship and love, are more important than anything else in the world.

~ Leilani