Sometimes, I like to indulge in children’s and young adult books. In fact, many of those I’ve read have given me more satisfaction than mainstream commercial novels. This is especially true of children’s books with hidden insights in the narrative. Newbery and Batchelder award winners are often sure bets for these types of stories, as are the classics. But once in a while, something comes along that is really special. Such is the case with The Adventures of Jimbo, the Homeless Cat, an illustrated children’s book by Enrico Antiporda.
The story opens with a cat named Jimbo, leading a happy and contented life with his owner, Billy, a man with cat whispering powers. When something tragic happens to Billy, Jimbo finds himself without a home and an owner. Fortunately, Billy had left him with valuable lessons in life, something Jimbo uses to survive. Thus begins Jimbo’s enlightening journey in search of a new home, a journey that quickly becomes an adventure in a wild forest laden with transformational obstacles.
The narrative prose is lyrical and the luminescent psychedelic-type graphics in this book are outstanding. My only criticism is that there are times when the author bordered too much on adult themes, like homelessness and the death and loss of a loved one. But I was glad to discover that Mr. Antiporda handled them quite adroitly, in a nuanced fashion. The question begs to be asked: when is the right moment for us to expose our children to these issues and how should we break it to them?
With a narrative filled with wisdom and insights, this book harks back to classics like The Little Prince and Jonathan Livingston Seagull. This is a book that children, young adults, and adults will enjoy.