John Brown, Rose and the Midnight Cat
By Jenny Wagner
Illustrated by Ron Brooks
Publisher: Puffin Books, 32 pages
John Brown is an old English sheep dog. He belongs to Rose, an old widow, and is a deeply devoted companion. Says Rose, "We are all right, John Brown. Just the two of us. You and me." But one night, Rose notices a cat in the garden. A midnight cat. She is fascinated by the cat. John Brown doesn't approve. He tells the cat to leave. But Rose wants the cat. She longs for it. She leaves it milk in a bowl, which John Brown tips over. Finally, Rose takes to her bed and declares that she might stay there forever. John Brown is sad and decides that, because he loves Rose so much, he will put up with the midnight cat. This is a strange picture book - quite gloomy and sombre. The midnight cat is slightly sinister - could it be a symbol of death? When John Brown finally allows the cat into the cottage, is he really accepting Rose's death? Perhaps being a true friend includes being able to let go.