Spanish / Colombia

El niño gato
(The cat boy)

Arciniegas, Triunfo (text)
Dipacho (illus.)
Bogotá: Ed. SM, 2013. – [48] p.
ISBN 978-958-705-784-3

Outsider | Search for identity | Orphan

His father did not return from the war, and his mother left the world out of grief. The cat boy is alone, and he feels lost because he thinks he belongs neither with cats nor with humans. He is a cat, but befriends mice; he is a boy, but he doesn’t like football. ≫El nino gato≪ echoes the fate of countless children: orphans of war, refugees and migrants, who live unnoticed on the outskirts of society, as if knocked out of the world. The protagonist is also a symbol for all who are ≫different≪, who are struggling with or searching for their identity.

Triunfo Arciniegas’ story, which ends on a hopeful note, possesses the timbre of a minor key. Some sentences read like rhythmically composed poetic verses. Dipacho draws wonderful pictures to accompany the text, which also permit of their own reading. In their ≫rawness≪ and powerful colouring, they form a clear contrast to the text, while still conveying the story’s melancholy. (Age: 6+)