Ellen Miles writes children’s books about pets. Callie is the first book in a series and is published by Scholastic Paperbacks (2011). The series is called Kitty Corner and subtitled Where kitties get the love they need.

The story begins when siblings Mia and Michael are racing home from school on their scooters and stop to look at the kittens and puppies at their neighborhood veterinarian’s office. Michael wants a dog and Mia wants a cat, but because they live with their parents in a small apartment, they can have neither.

As they are rushing into their apartment to greet their mother, Mia thinks she hears a cat meow.  Later—and this is the only part I don’t like—she pretends that the recycling is full so she can go outside and look for the cat near the trash cans.

Mia does catch a fleeting glance of a calico kitten with a hurt paw. She asks her parents if the family can look for the kitten and take her to the vet. After some family discussion, they agree to go to the local market to buy cat food to set out for the kitten. The store’s owner, Mr. Li, congratulates them on getting a cat. He likes cats, and after hearing their story about the stray, agrees to set out food for the kitten, too.

Eventually, they succeed in taking the kitten, whom Mia names “Callie,” to the vet for treatment. They are advised to keep the kitten inside, but she is an escape artist, and shows up at Mr. Li’s store. After further conversations about the cat’s needs and the family’s limitations, Mia realizes that Callie would probably be happier living at the local market, with the compassionate Mr. Li, than cooped up in her apartment. When she proposes the plan, Mr. Li is delighted.

This begins a series of four books about the family fostering and finding homes for kittens, the next three being Otis, Duchess, and Domino. The first book is from Mia’s point of view, the second from Michael’s. Also, the stories have brief imagined thoughts from each cat’s view.

Callie is under 100 pages (ten chapters). The book includes a short section of interesting cat facts and chapter one of the next book in the series. The writing is aimed at upper second grade and lower third grade readers. The characters are realistic, the tone is light, and the problems are solved in a wholesome manner. Callie is a good, safe read for lower elementary that is a lot of fun. It is available at your library, Amazon and Barnes & Noble. (Callie is listed on Amazon as Kitty Corner: Callie.)

Donna Fujimoto’s children love to read. She is a graduate of Alliance Theological Seminary. Her collection of short stories, 9 Slightly Strange Stories with an Uplifting Edge  is available as an e-book at Amazon.  The Shining Orb of Volney, a science-fiction novel, is her latest title.