Written and Illustrated by Patrick McDonnell
Little, Brown and Company, 2008
The plot in a nutshell: A cat helps a bird find his way south
A little yellow bird, who has fallen asleep under a tree, wakes up when the last leaf falls on his head. He looks up to see that all the other birds have left. Mooch the Cat happens to be passing and he tells the bird that the other birds have all flown south for the winter. The little bird begins to cry and Mooch offers the bird his paw. Hand in hand, they walk through forests and neighborhoods and cities. As the snow starts to fall, Mooch gets sleepy and stops for a nap on a log. The bird begins to cry again, so Mooch takes his hand and they continue walking. They hear nearby singing and when they look up, all of the little bird’s flock is sitting on a telephone wire. He hugs Mooch goodbye and joins them, then they all fly off together. Mooch whistles a little of their song and the book ends with a picture of Mooch back in his home, fast asleep by the fire as the snow falls outside.
I am fast becoming a major fan of wordless books and it’s mostly due to wonderful stories like this one. Author/illustrator Patrick McDonnell tells us Mooch’s story through pictures that are simple and adorable, some with minimal background and others with richer details, all with just enough action for us to follow the plot and feel for these characters. I love the drawing of Mooch extending his paw to the bird and the look of shock and surprise on the bird’s face when he sees that Mooch wants to help him. By the time the book ends, we’ve been through the snow with these two characters and seeing Mooch safe and warm at home just ties the whole thing up with a warm and snuggly bow. It’s hard to imagine anyone who could manage to resist the sweetness and charm of this story.
And what did we learn? What I take away from this book is that every good deed carries its own reward.