Michael Foreman’s “Cat on the Hill” is a compilation of stories told by a stray Cat struggling through seasons and tough times. She used to live on a ship with her former master who is now very old and cannot look after her anymore. Now she lives alone in the sea-side town and has to look after herself. Winter is the hardest season for surviving harsh winds, freezing nights and days without any food scrapes to be found. On Christmas Eve, Cat is particularly hungry and cold and after an encounter with an angry pack of stray dogs leaves the town hoping to find shelter on a hill nearby. Help comes unexpectedly and that night Cat finds herself in the warm company of friends who share food and shelter her from the cold night.
This book’s stories and illustrations will appeal to children of various ages. Even though it follows Cat through various seasons, we found the winter story stirring the emotions the most, this being the reason for this book’s place on our Christmas and winter-themed bookshelf .
Michael Foreman is a prolific award-winning British author and illustrator whose work is well-known around the world. He was born in 1938 and spent the first few years of his life surviving the horrors of World War II, including an air ride bombing of the house his family stayed in. His mother worked in a newspapers and magazines shop and Michael was exposed to cartoons and magazines illustrations from his childhood. He began studying art at the age of fifteen and his first children’s book was published while he was still a student. He has written his own books and illustrated more than three hundred titles by other authors. After leaving art school Michael travelled widely making films and television commercials and conducting research for the books he worked on. He has won the Kate Greenaway Award twice, the Smarties Book Prize, The Kurt Maschler Award, the Children’s Book Award, the Bologna Book Prize and the Francis William’s Illustration Award twice. He has been nominated for Hans Christian Andersen Award twice.
Michael Foreman’s sumptuous water-colour illustrations with predominant blues convey the vast landscape of the sea-side and the darkness of the night, making one feel its cold breath. He finds the sea inspirational. “I love the sea because its colour can show different times of the day. I like to put in one or two night scenes, which again give you dark blue – and, of course, there are days with blue skies. Sometimes, amid all this blue, I have to go out of the way to put in differently coloured pictures – just to make that surprise when you turn the page”, Michael says of his process. 
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