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Kat's Journey Review by Susan K. Marlow

By Jim Walker; illustrated by Wendy Walker Deason
Winepress Publishing Group
PO Box 428
Enumclaw, WA 98022

A little lost dog named Kat is looking for a home. Kat's Journey takes the reader on an adventure from this puppy's point of view. This delightful story is told first in English and then, just below the English text, in Spanish. It is a 5x7 hardback (just right for small fingers) that has 62 full-color pages. It is equally engaging for younger children who like picture books as well as older students studying Spanish.

When his family accidentally leaves him in a strange town, Kat must look for a new place to belong. As he travels from place to place, he receives gifts of food, shelter, and care from those who have little but are willing to share with a "friend" in need. At the end of his journey, Kat does find a loving new family. In addition, the message of salvation is presented with the Christmas theme of the story.

I worked for years to give my children a basic knowledge of the Spanish language. Books like Kat's Journey are a great addition to the curriculum, because any unfamiliar Spanish words are easily acquired by "peeking" at the English text just above. The English and Spanish sentences are clear, and although there is a good chunk of text on each page, it is not hard for the serious Spanish student to understand.

One question did plague me throughout this story. Kat's family drove away while he was chasing a squirrel. Kat says, "I just sat there and waited for them. By dinnertime I knew they weren't coming." Why, if Kat sat and waited, didn't his family have time to discover he was missing and go back to look for their puppy?

Kat's journey to find a new family is endearing. If you can get past the fact that it is slightly unbelievable, you will discover a wonderful message about the important things in life: family, caring for others, giving to others, and love.

Product review by Susan K. Marlow, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, January 2008