The Astronaut’s Cat
Allen & Unwin
‘The astronaut’s cat is an inside cat. And she likes it like that.’
So begins this story of an indoor cat that watches through the window of a spacecraft as an astronaut explores the moon outside.
She is fascinated by this strange lunar environment but setting foot beyond the confines of the spacecraft is not something a cat should do: there’s no air and the outside temperatures range between hot enough to boil a bowl of water in the daytime to ten times colder than a fridge freezer by night. Moreover there are strange objects whizzing around which Cat finds troublesome.
Instead the moggy spends her time playing, eating, and sleeping and dreaming.
Her dreams take her outside where she’s able to leap, pounce and glide, across the dusty, rocky terrain.
She also dreams of another place, a big blue ball full of amazing shapes and forms – the natural sights, sounds and scents of nature where she can become an outside cat.
Through his fusion of photographs of the moon’s surface and the Earth, and his own art, the author/illustrator cleverly melds the real and the imagined, while at the same time weaving some basic scientific information into his lyrical narrative.
So it is for cat, and so has it been for many humans of late, cooped up inside their homes or unable to venture far beyond their own front doors – something I’m sure Tohby Riddle knew nothing about when he created this delightfully whimsical book.