A new picture book, “Lost and Found Cat: The True Story of Kunkush’s Incredible Journey” by Doug Kuntz and Amy Shrodes and illustrated by Sue Cornelison, is the amazing true story of a cat taken with his Iraqi family when they had to flee their home. They carried him in secrecy because they weren’t supposed to bring any animals with them, and they loved their cat too much to leave him behind.
But the story took a heartbreaking turn when the cat’s carrier broke upon arrival in Greece, and the cat was lost. They searched for him for hours, and volunteers helped. But they didn’t find the cat. The family was heartbroken, but they had no choice but to continue their journey without their beloved cat.
What happened to Kunkush, the beautiful white cat, after that is the heart of the story. The lovely portrait of the strangers who helped Kunkush find his way back to the family that loved him will touch the heart of anyone who reads the story.
There aren’t many picture books that include diversity in the form of a Muslim family — and especially a Muslim family that loves their pet so very much that they try to smuggle him thousands of miles so that he can stay with them.
This is an important picture book on many levels, and for many reasons, not the least of which is that it’s beautifully narrated with lovely illustrations. Another positive about the book is its depiction of an Iraqi family who love their cat — just like any American family might love their cat or dog. We are all the same in many ways — and our love of our pets is just one way — no matter our color, our race, our religion, or our ethnicity.
And that’s a powerful lesson.
Please note: This review is based on the final, hardcover book provided by Crown Books for Young Readers, the publisher, for review purposes.