________________ CM . . . . Volume III Number 19 . . . . May 23, 1997

cover Mister Got To Go - The cat that wouldn't leave.

Lois Simmie. Illustrated by Cynthia Nugent.
Red Deer, AB; Red Deer College Press, 1995.
32pp., paper, $8.95.
ISBN 0-88995-157-8.

Kindergarten - grade 3 / Ages 5 - 8.
Review by Leslie Millar.

*** /4


"My word," he said when he saw the cat. "You are a sorry, soggy sight." He opened the window and the cat stepped in. "You can stay until the rain stops," he said, shutting the window, "Then you've got to go." Mr. Foster was the hotel manager and was used to giving orders. The cat sat down on the wide windowsill and began to lick the rain off his thick, gray fur. He was smiling all over inside himself, for he knew from the moment he stepped inside the Sylvia Hotel that he was a stray cat no longer.

image All of Lois Simmie's children's books have received the Canadian Children's Book Centre "Our Choice" award. The Saskatoon writer's other works include Auntie's Knitting a Baby, An Armadillo is Not a Pillow, and What Holds Up the Moon?

      Mister Got To Go, based on a charming and true story, tells of a stray cat that wanders into Vancouver's Sylvia Hotel one rainy night. Mr. Foster, the hotel manager, says, "'That cat's got to go' as soon as it stops raining." Seven years later, he is still saying, " That cat's got to go," but Got to Go has become the cat's name and the Sylvia Hotel, his home. Got to Go soon earns his keep as a dog detector - dogs are not allowed at the Sylvia - and hotel mascot. There is also a raucous epic battle between Got to Go and a racoon. This likeable tale will be appreciated by children as young as five. The language and storyline are fairly straightforward and could be read independently by students in grades two and three. The only problem, possibly due to its 'true story' origins, is a narrative which lacks depth and verges on being sentimental. Cynthia Nugent's beautiful watercolours are packed with humorous detail that all ages will enjoy. The lush, rain-soaked urban landscape of Vancouver and the hotel's quaint atmosphere are vividly conveyed. Nugent's characters, particularly Mr. Foster, exude kindness and good humour. The book is as comfortable as an old chair . . . perhaps like one you might find in the lobby of the Sylvia Hotel.


Leslie Millar is a mother and substitute teacher.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © 1997 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364