Raising a pet can be a rewarding yet demanding experience. Especially if you are a first time cat owner, Japanese, and living in France. No one knows this better than Shizue Tomoda, proud mother of her “feline son and daughter,” whose lives are colorfully described in her book, Taro & Tomi.
Tomoda spares few details in her simple but straightforward prose.< Most of the book is about Taro, her first kitten, where he is described in every aspect as he adjusts from adoption to life in an apartment. Charming illustrations supply the reader with images that give further life to a young kitty’s antics and also to the patience of a proud mother. Later on we learn of another addition to the fold, Tomi, and how a second child can alter the family dynamics of a newly created household.
Tomoda literally treats her cats as children. True cat lovers will identify with and applaud this behavior. When friends come to stay for a short time and form a particularly affectionate bond with Taro, the author experiences motherly concerns for her son after they leave. “When I woke up in the middle of the night, he was still lying on one of the guestroom beds. I wondered if he had fallen in love with one of the girls.”
Taro and Tomi benefit from the counseling and guidance Tomoda gives them as they grow together as a family. Her parental concern is one of the book’s most endearing qualities. The love and compassion the author displays for her children will surely touch the reader whether or not they ever owned a pet. This short, but warm-hearted and expressive book is certainly a refreshing and worthwhile read.
Reviewer: Gene Berger