“That night the fog crept up the bay on silent feet.“ Fog Cat, as Hannah named her, momentarily froze and then “vanished among the rocks as though the fog had swallowed her up.”
In this way Helmer shows that Fog Cat will be a challenge for Hannah to befriend. Young Hannah shows sensible intelligence in patiently and regularly rewarding the cat with well selected tidbits. Fog Cat is all the more valuable because she is a difficult companion to win. What a delight to find that, “Her head was as soft as a down quilt.”
The story does not end with Fog Cat’s “domestication”. Fog Cat brings both tragedy and joyful surprise into Hannah’s life, in a “how it should be”, bittersweet ending.
Helmer focuses on the special traits of Hannah and Fog Cat making them anything but everyday characters. Any child interested in animals will learn from Hannah that their care requires a special respect for their nature. Helmer also makes sure that young readers will see that animal pets do not always fulfill one’s fantasies; they are not just living toys one feeds.
The artwork of Mombourquette plainly captures young Hannah’s thoughtful joy as she entices Fog Cat into her home. The images complement the story, compelling one to see Hannah’s state of mind at each stage of her relationship with the cat. Readers will smile with her and cry with her.