Haven: A Small Cat’s Big Adventure
Megan Wagner Lloyd, Author
Candlewick Press, Fiction, Aug. 16, 2022
Suitable for ages: 8-12
Themes: Adventure, Cat, Fox, Animals, Love, Loss, Self-confidence, Friendship
When her cherished human, Ma Millie falls ill, a timid housecat ventures into the wild to seek help in this adventure about love, loss, and finding the truest version of ourselves.
A warm, cozy lap. The toasty smell of baking bread. Tasty food served in a bright-blue bowl. These and other comforts make Haven’s life as an indoor pet heaven. All thanks to her beloved human and rescuer, Ma Millie. But when Ma Millie becomes too sick to care for her, the cat’s cozy life is turned upside down, and Haven decides she must seek out another human for help. Anything for Ma Millie! Her vow pulls her out of her safe nest into the shadowy forest and down unfamiliar and dangerous roads. When her first plan fails, Haven meets a wilderness-savvy fox who volunteers as an ally, and their perilous journey together brings some victories. But Haven finds herself pitted against creatures far wilder than she ever could be, testing her strength and spirit to their limits. Will her loyalty to Ma Millie—and her newfound confidence in herself—be enough to help Haven see the quest through to its conclusion? Can she stand up against the fierce predator that is tracking her every move?
Why I like Haven:
This is a sweet and heartfelt story for animal lovers about the unbreakable bond between Haven and Ma Millie, who finds the abandoned kitten on her front porch and nurses her back to health. Haven leads a pampered life with her human. When her beloved Ma Millie becomes ill, it’s Haven’s turn to get help.
I like the unlikely pairing of a cat with a fox. It adds an element of danger to the plot. She meets a fox who could trick her and fill his belly, but he is intrigued by Haven’s courage and decides to help her. After all his life is rather dull. “Sleep, wake. Hunt, eat. Repeat.” They could stick to the road and risk being hit, but venture into the wild forest where danger lurks around every corner — especially a bobcat tracking the fox.
Readers will be glued to Haven’s courageous adventure. Haven and the fox rely on and learn from each other. As her self-confidence grows, this pampered cat may have some tricks that will save the fox. This cat may be small, but she has a big heart.
This book is a perfect story for readers just beginning middle grade books — and for older reluctant readers. The chapters are very short, sometimes just one page. The third person narrative gives readers insight into Haven’s thoughts, as well as the other animals she meets along her journey in the wild forest.
Megan Wagner Lloyd is the author of the graphic novel Allergic, as well as the picture books Finding Wild, Fort-Building Time, Building Books, and Paper Mice. Megan Wagner Lloyd lives with her family in the Washington, DC, area.
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*Review copy provided by Candlewick Press in exchange for a review.