Anton and Cecil: Cats Aloft

Written by Lisa Martin Valerie Martin
Review by Eva Ulett

Cat brothers Anton and Cecil are headed home after an adventure involving a missing mouse, when they arrive in Chicago during the World’s Fair of 1893. In a busy train station, the brothers take council with the mouse network sworn to aid them regarding the right train to carry them onward toward their home in the direction of the rising sun. After a confused parlay with the mice, Anton and Cecil meet Ruby, a bloodhound on a case of missing puppies with her policeman partner. Curious to see the sights at the Fair where the dog-nappings are taking place, the cat brothers join Ruby in her investigation of the disappearance of little white dogs.

The action of the story takes place against a colorful backdrop of the World’s Fair and a traveling circus. Cecil is the bolder brother, delighting in a ride on a Ferris wheel, and eventually going aloft in a balloon that takes him from the Fair to a circus outside of town. The more thoughtful Anton suffers most when his brother is borne away in the balloon. The separation of the cat brothers introduces much needed tension, and the circus scenes allow the appearance of a diversity of animal characters—a tiger, monkey, horses, and rats—that enliven the story. With a number of illustrations and a map, Cats Aloft is a fun and enjoyable book.