Nicholas was dismayed. ‘Cat!’ he cried.
‘Don’t you want to come down?
Do you want to stay on the roof all night?’
‘Marl,’ said the cat, hop-skip-jumping away.
Nicholas’ cat is on the roof and won’t come down. Night is coming, and Nicholas is worried. He climbs a rickety ladder to try to rescue the cat, but it runs away. In bed, Nicholas can’t sleep. He thinks of the strange things outside in the dark, creep is and crawlies and ghosts, and thinks the cat is very brave. But then he drifts to sleep, and it starts to rain. Poor cat is stranded on the roof getting wet, until he is woken by the cat’s cry and bravelu goes ot to rescue her. Finally, both fall asleep in bed, each thinking how brave the other has been.
Come Down, Cat! is a beautiful tale of friendship and bravery, exemplified by the boy Nicolas and his cat, the only two characters in the story. The text, from award winning author Sonya Hartnett is simple yet finely crafted. There is no excess. For example, there is no extraneous explanation as o how the cat got onto the roof, the story opening simply with: It was nearly night time, and the cat was still on the roof. Later, when Nicholas imagines the terrors of the night, the reader gets the feeling that perhaps it is Nicholas who is scared of the howls and whispers, and scritchy scratchy sounds.
The illustrations, by up and coming illustrator Lucia Masciullo, are whimsical acrylics. Nicolas’ two story house has turrets and chimneys and balconies which speak of mystery and adventure. Nicholas himself is sweet faced, but with tousled hair and little pointed nose that make him a delightful oddity. There are shadows and clouds and splotches of light, all giving light and dark and adding interest and general quirkiness.
Suitable for early childhood, but with appeal for primary aged readers too, Come Down, Cat! is, simply, beautiful.
Come Down, Cat!, by Sonya Hartnett, illustrated by Lucia Masciullo