Expected publication: January 31st 2017 by Crown Books for Young Readers
Format read: Finished copy via publisher
When an Iraqi family is forced to flee their home, they can’t bear to leave their beloved cat, Kunkush, behind. So they carry him with them from Iraq to Greece, keeping their secret passenger hidden away.
But during the crowded boat crossing to Greece, his carrier breaks and the frightened cat runs from the chaos. In one moment, he is gone. After an unsuccessful search, his family has to continue their journey, leaving brokenhearted.
A few days later, aid workers in Greece find the lost cat. Knowing how much his family has sacrificed already, they are desperate to reunite them with the cat they love so much. A worldwide community comes together to spread the word on the Internet and in the news media, and after several months the impossible happens—Kunkush’s family is found, and they finally get their happy ending in their new home.
This remarkable true story is told by the real people involved, with the full cooperation of Kunkush’s family.
Authors Doug Kuntz, Amy Shrodes share the story of Kunkush's the cat's family, who have made the choice to flee Iraq. They can't bear to leave Kunkush behind, so they bring the cat with them. However, Kunkush is separated from them in Greece, and a worldwide community comes together to help find him...
What's especially important about Lost and Found Cat, is that it presents a timely look at an ongoing global conflict in an easy-to-access manner. Kuntz and Shrodes don't overcomplicate the ongoing geopolitical problems in Iraq for their younger readers, but chooses to focus on the human angle of how warfare and conflict is impacting a specific family.
Even the aspect of refugees immigrating to Greece is handled in a way that feels genuine and easy-to-understand - Kuntz and Shrodes make the choice on focusing on the individuals who are helping the families move to new lives - which make it easier and more understandable for young readers to grasp. (Though parents and educators shouldn't be surprised if readers will still likely have questions about the entire immigration, though!)
The shift to Kunkush's perspective at one point is also nice; it's a nod to the fact that conflict isn't something that just impacts individuals. It's something that also impacts pets and other creatures, and readers will likely also have many questions about this as well.
What's especially nice about the book though, is Kuntz and Shrodes make it a point of not bringing up their own involvement, until the very end. It helps center the book on Kunkush's family, but also makes it a point of reminding readers how many individuals, both big and small, can come together to help find a happy ending in the midst of so much chaos.
With a warm palette of pastels and paints, Sue Cornelison's illustrations help reinforce this story's accessibility. The book is concluded with a touching author's note, and pictures of the real Kunkush, which tie the book off nicely. Highly recommend.