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Children's LiteratureRana does not enjoy her Indian grandparents, who have come from India to baby sit and visit while her parents travel. Grandma is crabby, seems to favor Rana's younger sister Tara, and most of all, does not like the wild kitten that Rana is trying to adopt. Nagda has written a rare story of depth for second and third graders. She weaves in details of how to raise a cat, thoughtfully provided by a new friend Rana makes when she reveals in her journal that she needs help with cat care and the class becomes involved in giving advice. Grandma gradually softens, teaches Rana to cook Indian food, and provides a welcoming number of snacks when some of Rana's classmates visit to supply cat toys, the energy for a cat bath, and some cat food. The story reads smoothly, is helpfully divided into short chapters for new readers, and Grandma and Rana's newfound friendship is a satisfying conclusion. Grandpa's support of Rana was never in doubt—a fact that helps young readers through Rana's difficulties with Grandma. Like Nagda's Dear Whiskers, this story introduces Indian culture without making it the focus of a story. Roth's black and white ink wash and line illustrations and chapter introductions are warmly narrative and the inclusion of Rana's journal entries in boldface break the text nicely. All in all, it's a first-rate selection for new chapter book readers and a good read-aloud, as well. 2003, Holiday House, Ages 7 to 10.
— Susan Hepler, Ph.D.