A random book selected from a stack at the library book sale, Lucky’s Choice has turned out to be one of my favorite children’s books ever.
Not only does this nicely paced story run easy on the mouth – there’s just a couple places where I find myself wanting to skip words to keep the rhythm moving – it’s compelling and touching.
And cute. Lonely Lucky is a skinny cat whose owner calls him “lucky” because she keeps him and feeds him, unlike the ownerless alley cats outside the window who scrape for scraps. Yet, Lucky’s owner doesn’t cuddle or snuggle with him – she may meet his material needs, but she doesn’t provide any emotional attachment. When Lucky finds a friend who happens to be a mouse, Ezra, he’s in a predicament – owner wants the mouse dead, mouse is his one companion. Lucky chooses to escape to the alley with the mouse instead of staying safe in the loveless landscape of his owner’s apartment. He chooses love over safety, and at the end, both he and the mouse get rescued by “the cat lady,” a human who really does love and appreciate Lucky and his friendship with Ezra.
The classic tension between a safe, predictable world vs. a wild, dangerous one; the ironies of Lucky’s name and his friendship with a would-be prey; and the contrast between what it means to be owned vs. loved all play together to tell a story about real things, not just to get across a simple message or teach a lesson. The book allows the opportunity to ask children about what’s important to them and about making choices… and to ask yourself.