Anton and Cecil: Cats on Track

Written by Kelly Murphy (illus.) Lisa Martin Valerie Martin

United States, late 1800s: Anton, a sleek grey cat, and his adventurous brother Cecil have settled back down in Lunenberg after a safe return home from the nautical adventures detailed in the first volume of this series (Cats at Sea). A message via the mouse network disturbs Anton’s peaceful life; his good friend Hieronymus, a mouse, has been captured and is held prisoner someplace in the west, between “the whale and the coyote.” Hieronymus previously saved Anton’s life and so the loyal cat feels he has no choice but to try and save his friend. Spunky Cecil accompanies his brother on the quest.

Their trek takes them on sailing ships and the fearsome “land ships,” far away from their seaside home to the very heart of the Wild West and beyond. Separated from each other more than once, Cecil befriends prairie dogs and rides a bison while Anton frolics with lynx kits and fights a rattlesnake. The adventures continue as they search for Hieronymus.

I thoroughly enjoyed meeting Anton and Cecil and found their story quite engaging. The book moves along at a fast clip, similar to the speed with which the cats cross the country in the giant “land ships.” The book and its endearing heroes should appeal to young readers who love cats and adventure, as well as to older ones who enjoy a little escapist whimsy in their literary diet. Lovely illustrations, including a map, enhance this tale of tails. Highly recommended; a very sweet read!