The Cat That Barked


64 pages
ISBN 1-895900-17-4
DDC jC813'.54





Illustrations by Terry Roscoe

Krystyna J. Higgins is the former book review editor for the Catholic
New Times.


This latest offering from award-winning Nova Scotia author Budge Wilson
is an easy chapter book on the “new kid on the block” theme.

Stephanie Henderson and her parents are moving from Peterborough,
Ontario, to Halifax. Hoping to allay Stephanie’s misgivings about the
change, her parents buy her a tortoise-shell cat that she promptly names
Fido. (“She knew it was a dog’s name, but she didn’t care. She
just happened to like the name.”) The family’s car trip across the
country encompasses a mini-travelogue of Canadiana, from the Lift Lock
in Peterborough to a calиche ride around Quebec City, to New
Brunswick’s Reversing Falls.

Even Stephanie has to admit that their new house in Halifax is big and
inviting, and that the city itself is fascinating. But nothing can
distract her from the looming terrors of The New School. Sure enough,
she feels lost and friendless at first, especially when confronted by
the bossy Gloria. It is Fido who proves to be her key to acceptance and
friendship, not only because of his lovely multicolored coat but also
because of his uncanny ability to “bark” (for the time being, at

In language that is straightforward and realistic, Budge writes about a
situation with which young readers can readily identify. Stephanie’s
personality and her emotional dilemma ring true, as does her way of
expressing herself: at a particularly low moment, she feels “as flat
as a wad of gum run over by a truck.”

Terry Roscoe’s realistic black-and-white drawings, while not
essential to the story, do help to round out the reader’s acquaintance
with Stephanie and Fido. Recommended.


Wilson, Budge., “The Cat That Barked,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 24, 2024,