If you have ever been around a cat, you will appreciate Meg Welch Dendler”s Cats in the Mirror Series. Meg uses her first-hand knowledge of cats to weave a science fiction adventure story that portrays cats as aliens from space. In the first book, Why Kimba Saved the World, the reader initially wonders if the alien cats are trying to gather the support of Earth cats for a nefarious plot.
Two cats, Kimba and Hiro take center stage as house cats while other cats and a dog wander in and out of focus. An alien cat, Regalus, appears and disappears via a bathroom mirror. The fading in and out peaks Kimba and Hiro’s curiosity. The reader is also left wondering about Regalus’ intentions as he tests the cats’ loyalty. Can Regalus convince the cats to balk human authority by choosing freedom? Going outside is an accomplishment that some cats desire and others fear. Kimba and Hiro illustrate both spectrums.
Freedom for Kimba was not what she expected. Fears and anxieties overcame her. Even though she had her taste of freedom, she could not wait to return to the comforts of her familiar life. She was apprehensive to report her less than stellar mission to Regalus. She settled with a true statement that did not touch on any of her reservations. “The sky is really big… I never realized how big and blue and open it is. It doesn’t look like that from a window.” (Page 111)
Regalus’ second test was more daunting. This mission was a greater test of her cat loyalty. Would Kimba choose to side with her fellow cats or the family that had raised her? As Kimba vacillated between her options, she realized that her final decision would betray either the alien cats or her family. It was a tough choice.
Like many other Earth cats, she refused to put her family in jeopardy.
The story continues in the second book, Vacation Hiro. When Kimba and Hiro’s family goes on a vacation, the alien cats start scheming. Kimba and Hiro’s anxieties climb as each day passes without any of their human family in sight. A daily visit from the grandmother does not suffice.
A different alien cat appears in the mirror. Artemis plays on the cats’ weaknesses and bolsters their egos. Can Kimba and Hiro be alien royalty?
The reader gains a stronger appreciation of the scope of the alien cat population. Alien cats are stationed at the resort where Kimba and Hiro’s human family are vacationing. Once again, the reader is left thinking whether the alien cats have good or bad intentions.
Additional layers of the story are revealed when Kimba and Hiro’s birth mother comes to Earth and when Kimba and Hiro visit the alien spacecraft. The concept of royalty becomes a reality when the two sisters learn that their mother is the high commander. Once on the ship, the cats are informed about the expectations associated with being the offsprings of the High Commander.
Whisked back to Earth before their disappearance would be recognized, they had little time to digest all that they had observed. However, their lives were forever changed. “Once you know something big and important like that, you can never unknow it. The sisters would never think about their wourld the same way again.” (page 203)
The cats knew that their time on Earth was limited. At some future date, they would be summoned to their destiny as alien cats. Readers will have to wait until the third book is released in September to read about Kimba and Hiro’s future.
Meg has created a fast paced cat adventure series for middle grade readers. Each of the cats has identifiable human characteristics that complement their cat features. These traits enable readers to connect with the different characters and add to the pace of the story. The reader is pulled deeper into the story via the dialogue between the cats. Throughout the book, Meg adeptly uses her creative energies to weave together elements of humor, suspense, and mystery. Even though these whimsical stories are science fiction, it will be difficult to look upon cats in the same way after reading these books.
Meg provided copies of her books in exchange for an honest review.
Anyone who leaves a comment on this blog by Sunday, May 11 will be eligible for a book giveaway. The randomly selected winner will be sent an autographed paperback copy of one of Meg Dendler’s books.