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Hotel for Cats

Authored by Marie Pavlenko
Illustrated by Marie Voyelle
Published by Chicken House Ltd

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A bunch of feline friends run a hotel in Paris. Well, from the outside it looks as though Magda the 75-year-old French lady is in charge of Hotel Charamba but the cats would argue otherwise. Each feline is different and brings their own strengths and peculiarities to the team: Bobine is bossy, Mulot tells it to you straight, Carpette loves to sing and Couscousse is friend with a ghost. In order that the reader becomes quickly acquainted with them, the opening pages of the book provide a summary of these key characters.

The feline hosts see their role as ensuring their visitors are comfortable and at home and above all else, they must keep the good reputation of the hotel intact. Usually visiting cats settle quickly but their new boarder Wolfgang seems very nervous and anything they try to coax him to leave his room and join them in the cat playground the Pawsome Palace, just doesn’t work. This is a problem for the hotel which prides itself on providing a stimulating, happy environment. It falls on the cats to try and solve the mystery but unfortunately everything they try just turns into a ‘cat-astrophe’. Will they ever be able to get to the root of the problem?

Hotel for Cats is the first of a bestselling series, written and illustrated by two cat-loving childhood friends and now translated from the original French. It is told in a conversational tone, where the narrator slips between narration of the tale and direct humour-laden addresses to the reader, a style with which many readers will be familiar. The author plays with language and the text is littered with puns on all things cat, e.g. the heat is ‘suf-fur-cating’ and cats can understand humans, which is ‘clawsome’. The text is playful and fun and would make an enjoyable read aloud in a Key Stage 1 classroom but also a book that a confident reader might access independently.