The Adventures of Miss Petitfour

Distributor:       Booktopia/Amazon 
ISBN:                 9781408868041
Publisher:         Bloomsbury UK
Release Date:   May 2017  

Website:    http:/ 


Author :  Anne Michaels, illustrated by Emma Block 

The five short stories that make up this adventure book are just the right length for a bedtime read or for curl up on the lounge time. As in previous books we know that Miss Petitfour loves baking and playing with her cats, but most of all she loves flying. Her cats always accompany her and fly behind her, paw to tail. She has sixteen very contented cats who know that when Miss Petitfour picks up her favourite tablecloth, it is time to fly. Some of the names of her cats are Minky, Misty, Taffy, Pirate and Hemdela.

 The story begins by introducing us to Miss Petitfour and her cats. For children who have read others of her stories, the illustrations prove to be as familiar as the cats themselves. Gently we are told that adventures don’t need to be big, but can be small or just the right size, as Miss Petitfour’s were. To begin with, there is a particular order that is adhered to when one is about to go flying.

  The cat owner would hold the smallest cat in one hand and the four corners of her favourite tablecloth in the other and face into the wind. As the tablecloth fills with air, the cats wrap their tails around each other and head up into the sky. This mode of transport is a little restrictive as one can only fly in the direction the wind is blowing.

 One of the group’s best loved shops is the book shop. There are many books with large words which the owners wife believes many children love to get their tongue tangled up in.  These words are written in yellow cursive writing, and are quite distinct from the black printed word.  Mrs Collarwaller and Miss Petitfour spend many enjoyable hours making up funny book titles, such as “How to care for the fish in your shoe.”

 For children who enjoy reflecting on the oddities in a story, there will be many moments of joy. Wonderful, wispy illustrations adorn many pages, while pictures of delicious cakes are quite common. No one seems to think it odd to have a flying woman in the village, and one who takes her cats with her. The daring adventures which seem almost catastrophic… such as the wind gusts almost dragging the cats into a passing river are easily solved when by good luck one of the villagers is out for a sail in his boat and calmly rescues the fliers.

 Some books are made for savouring, and this is one of them. The language is challenging, but readable, and it is easy to suspend belief in the immediacy of the story. The book size is just right for small hands and the gentle colours ensure a relaxing and comfortable read.