Sahar is new to Canada and worried about school so Lodi gives her a dream cat. “It makes your fondest wish come true.”
The toy cat, which is wrapped in bandages like a mummy, comes alive and speaks to Sahar. It hides in her backpack and accompanies her to school. The cat watches through the classroom window and communicates with Sahar telepathically. Most of the time he gives her the correct answer to the teacher’s questions, but sometimes he is wrong. Afterward, Sahar asks Isecas why he sent incorrect answers to her. He explains that he knows nothing of math; he plucked the answers from Sahar’s thoughts. Sahar realizes she is smarter than she believed.
In the afternoon, Isecas tells her other student’s thoughts. Sahar discovers she has much in common with a new girl from Peru named Carmen. They become friends. But then, Melissa, a popular girl starts to bully Sahar. By providing Sahar with Melissa’s inner thoughts, Isecas helps Sahar understand Melissa’s insecurities and connect with her as well.
After school, Isecas tells Sahar, “You answered all those questions, you made friends with Carmen, and it was you who stood up to Melissa. You could have done it at any time. It was always within you to do.”
Sahar’s confidence in social situations and her attitude toward school and living in a new country change from fear to excitement.
This would be a wonderful book to give a child who is facing integration into a new school, neighborhood, country, or group. It provides the opportunity to discuss important social skills as well as the significance of attitude.
Dixie Albanez’s illustrations are wonderfully expressive. Her cute drawings portray Sahar’s emotions clearly. The cat has the mystery of ancient Egypt and the charm of a cuddle buddy.
My only qualm with this book is the name of the cat, Isecas. How do you pronounce it? Children will definitely stumble over this word. At the very least, the author needs to provide a pronunciation guide.
I was given an e-book for review.