Leonard quotes Walt Whitman, has an affinity for knock-knock jokes and “I Love Lucy” and absolutely adores his shiny yellow rain slicker. Oh, and he’s an alien trapped in the body of a cat.
The twitchy-tailed, inquisitive and funny narrator of Carlie Sorosiak’s Leonard (My Life as a Cat) is an immortal being from another planet who has been looking forward to his 300th birthday, when, according to tradition, he’ll get to visit Earth and take human form for a month. “Humans write books, and share thoughts over coffee, and make things for absolutely zero reason. Swimming pools, doorbells, elevators—I was dying to discover the delight of them all.”
But on the way down to Earth, he gets distracted and—meow!—ends up in the body of a cat, clinging to a tree in a ferocious South Carolina rainstorm. He’s rescued by Olive, an 11-year-old girl who’s spending the summer with her grandmother, Norma. At first, Leonard is frantic: This is not the body he imagined! Why is he suddenly obsessed with destroying the curtains? And how will he ever get home, if his prearranged interstellar rendezvous point at Yellowstone National Park is 2,000 miles away and he only has 30 days to get there?
Despite his worries, Leonard grows to appreciate his situation and the fascinating humans he now depends on. Readers will delight in his feline-out-of-water wonder at things we humans take for granted, from cheese to thumbs to umbrellas. They’ll also easily relate to his feelings of frustration, longing and excitement as he and Olive learn to accept and celebrate what makes them each unique. Leonard and Olive’s friendship is a heartwarming reminder that families don’t need to be biologically related—or even from the same planet.
Leonard is a witty, inventive and wonderful tale that encourages readers to step back and see the beautiful picture painted by our interrelated world. It invites us to appreciate the marvelous in the mundane, and to take a closer look at the animals we encounter, just in case they’ve got something important to say.