Jean Davies Okimoto

Blumpoe Grumpoe Meets Arnold the Cat

A grumpy old man and a shy young cat form an unlikely friendship at a Minnesota inn which provides its guests with a cat for the night.

“Touching and hilarious.”
-- Entertainment Weekly

From Publishers Weekly:
Ever since his dog Raymond died, grumpy Horace P. Blumpoe has become even grumpier. But even a grouch has a soft spot, and lonely Horace prepares for his annual visit to his sister Edith. When car problems force him to check in at the Anderson House Hotel, Horace is offered a cat for companionship during his stay. The cranky guest refuses, of course, but an endearing kitty named Arnold decides that Blumpoe needs feline attention, and sneaks into his room. A frantic nocturnal confrontation of wills ensues, with Arnold determined to lavish attention on Blumpoe and Blumpoe equally determined not to receive it (although Blumpoe's grumpiness finally dwindles, influenced perhaps by his companion's persuasive purring). The next morning Horace departs, but not before he asks a maid for the cat's name and makes some very specific reservations for his return trip. Okimoto's poignant story (based on a real hotel) is complemented by winsome, nostalgic illustrations. Arnold's seemingly boneless body and silly putty face convey a variety of emotions that will melt readers' hearts as surely as that of Horace P. Blumpoe. Ages 4-8.

From School Library Journal:
Gr 1-3 --Much like a younger version of James Steveson's Worst Person in the World, Horace P. Blumpoe elevates grumpiness to an art form, dashing off a letter to the manufacturer when there aren't enough chunks in his chunky peanut butter, complaining vociferously when his newspaper doesn't land in the exact center of his porch, facing the world with a ferocious scowl. When his car breaks down in a small Minnesota town, he takes a room at the Anderson House Hotel (a real place); along with a bachelor farmer from Lake Wobegon and other guests, he is invited to borrow one of the hotel's 19 cats for the night. Naturally he rejects the offer out of hand, but Arnold shyly appears on his bed anyway, casually ignoring his outrage; by morning he has put a smile on Blimpoe's face. Schneider's zany cartoon illustrations recall Stevenson's too, although both line and color are applied in a more controlled, detailed fashion; simple, clear scenes in a variety of sizes and shapes are bordered by small blocks of text and plenty of white space. Although less-practiced readers may be challenged by the vocabulary, this engaging, well-told story is worth their trouble. --John Peters, New York Public Library