A train station, a cat and a sprinkling of magic make for a tender and emotion-filled exploration of sadness and joy, the lost and found, hopelessness and hope, darkness and light.
Everything about the station was grey, its colour drained long ago. Cold, damp, sadness and hopelessness had seeped their way into every part; even the passengers were not spared. When a ragged and feeble cat found her way in, she would surely become just another part of the greyness. But as she watches and learns about the passengers and their challenges in life, she begins to understand that perhaps she can make a difference. Will her radiant green eyes and luminous fur return colour and hope to people’s worlds once more…
I loved Stephen Hogtun’s debut picture book Leaves, and from the moment I laid eyes on his new title I knew it was going to be something special. The Station Cat is stunning. Pairing spellbinding artwork with a gentle and lyrical story, the titular feline lights up a weary train station and the travellers that pass through with her dazzling colours and spritely demeanour.
It is beautiful, it is heartbreaking, it is heartwarming, and it is sure to leave readers watery eyed. The story is gentle and kind, wrapping you in a warm hug as the magic from the station cat spills from the pages and into our own lives. What will really leave readers in a state of awe and wonder are the dreamlike illustrations. Each page is mesmerising, bringing colour, hope and a new sense of purpose as humans and animal spend precious moments together and significant and heartfelt connections are made. Even in the darkest of times, light can be found.
Full of meaning and exploring themes of loneliness, sadness and death, Hogtun’s heartfelt, touching and empathic tale teaches the importance of helping and showing kindness towards others and the riches in doing so. It only takes a moment to check-in with someone else, to hear their story and to lend a hand but it could be life-changing and the sense of self-worth, pride and purpose that comes with such an act is priceless.
It isn’t surprising to learn that this story takes inspiration from real events. When a stray cat appeared in Stephen’s life, it would change him forever. At a challenging time, Georgie would always be there to bring ‘colour and happiness to the situation with her love and kindness.’ If only we could all create something so beautiful in honour of those that matter most to us.
Sure to leave a lasting impression, words and images will linger in the memory long after the pages have been closed and the beloved cat with the twinkling eyes and luminous fur has left the station. A gem of a picture book!
Recommended for 7+.