August 08, 2014

Mister Got To Go, Where Are You?

by Lois Simmie
Illustrated by Cynthia Nugent
Red Deer Press
32 pp.
Ages 4+
June 2014

Mister Got To Go, resident feline of the Sylvia Hotel in Vancouver and star of Mister Got To Go: The Cat That Wouldn't Leave (2003) and Mister Got To Go and Arnie (2012), is back in his newest story, Mister Got To Go, Where Are You? from Lois Simmie and Cynthia Nugent.  This time, Got To Go is missing.

After nine years enjoying life at the Sylvia Hotel, Got To Go truly appreciates all the little perks, so it's hard to believe that Got To Go would just leave.  While Mister Foster, the hotel manager, has never thought the cat appropriate for the hotel, hence his name, Mister Got To Go's absence is of great concern to everyone at the hotel, including Mister Foster.

Got to Go hadn't planned to leave when he jumps into the leaves in the back of a gardening truck.  But when he jumps off, he doesn't know how to get home.  He makes a quick friend in Jim, a homeless man who shares his fish and chips and cardboard box in the park with Got To Go.  However, after three days, homesickness sets in. But how is he going to get home when he can't even smell the sea?  Poor Got To Go endures hardship upon hardship as he looks for any signs of home.  He gets wet in the rain, cuts his paw on something sharp, is chased by a dog, fights with another cat,  and goes hungry. But when he finally smells the sea again, Got To Go knows the direction he has got to go.

It's delightful to see Mister Got To Go again and in a story in which he is able to find a happy ending, i.e., his home at the Sylvia Hotel.  Lois Simmie's text doesn't anthropomorphize this special cat but rather gives words to the thoughts he must have when lost.  His demeanour is one of calm and quiet determination, coupled with resolve that he will get home, and it's this that will have little ones cheering for him.  Cynthia Nugent gets him right every time, whether he is curious, wet, scared or content. He may not do the big goofy grins of a Cheshire Cat but he is everyone's cat, the cats we love, worry over, spoil, and treat like family.  Maybe that's why we love Mister Got To Go: his story is the happy ending we wish for all the homeless, feline and otherwise.  As much as some may scoff at their contributions to our lives, they are all worthy of our care.  Lois Simmie and Cynthia Nugent get that right in Mister Got To Go, Where Are You?

Just as an aside, the endpapers of the book show Got To Go's extensive travels both from the hotel (front endpaper, below) and back to the hotel (back endpaper) and are a delightful means to track his journey.  Although the maps are reader-friendly, I suspect those who have been to Vancouver and specifically to the Sylvia Hotel will be particularly enamoured.


  1. Lovely review. thank you so much! :-)

  2. I love these books and have given many as gifts. Some little people will be getting this one to add to their collection.