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A Cat Called Waverley

Authored by Debi Gliori
Illustrated by Debi Gliori
Published by Otter-Barry Books Ltd

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Waverley, the homeless ginger cat, waits for his best friend Donald to return from war – but the years go by. This picture book, now in paperback, focuses on homelessness and steadfast friendship. It is full of empathy and opportunities for reflection and discussion with readers of all ages.

Based on the life of a war veteran, Darren Greenfield, and set in Edinburgh’s iconic Waverley station, this story is very much grounded in the here and now. Gliori’s use of the cat’s perspective gives the reader hope and warmth in what could be a desperate tale. We see Waverley confused as the many friendly faces around him disappear one by one. As he waits at the train station, the last place he saw Donald, he becomes well known: ‘People took photographs and brought food for him. But even though he was desperately lonely, Waverley wouldn’t let anyone pick him up. Nobody, that is, except Donald.’ Gliori’s distinctive line drawings are shades of grey apart from the occasional flashes of ginger to represent both Donald’s hair and Waverley’s fur. Their fragile connection remains across time and space.

Gliori makes her motives for writing the story clear in her afterword: ‘I wrote and illustrated A Cat Called Waverley for Darren, but also for all the countless homeless people in our world. I wrote it to say you are not forgotten. You are the yardstick by which we measure our own kindness and humanity. We all have the same need for shelter, for food and for people to care about us.’ This poignant tale will enrich every primary library especially through thoughtful openhearted discussion with a group.