Friday, December 19, 2014

‘Gaby, Lost and Found’ by Angela Cervantes

Cover: Gaby, Lost and Found by Angela Cervantes
Among third- to fifth-grade titles in this year’s Oregon Battle of the Books, Gaby, Lost and Found caught and held my interest as a longtime animal caregiver.

I couldn’t resist the cover image of a brown-tabby cat, poking her head and paw out of a girl’s backpack.

Written by Angela Cervantes (Scholastic, 2013), Gaby, Lost and Found centers around volunteer efforts by a young girl and her classmates to help abandoned animals find homes. But while Gaby’s animal profiles bring in adoptive caregivers, Gaby herself feels like a stray. Her mother was deported to Honduras and her father rarely has time for her.

Gaby cares deeply about all the animals at Furry Friends Animal Shelter. But she especially can’t bear the thought of a malnourished cat being given back to the arguing couple who left her at a rest-stop. And above everything else, Gaby wants her mother to come home.

Which leads readers to the moment depicted on the book’s cover, with the expressive face of Feather emerging from the opening of Gaby’s pink backpack.

Gaby, Lost and Found began as an “undercover plot” by Cervantes to convince her husband that they needed to adopt a puppy. But in the hands of readers, thanks to Gaby’s evocative fliers, Cervantes’ book could very well inspire many other families’ adoption of cats and dogs.

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