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Will and Nill
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Will and Nill are very hungry cats. Nill dozes, dreaming about food, while his friend Will goes off to play hide and seek with his new friend, the sparrow. As Nill continues to sleep, still hungry, Will finds some very smelly treasure. Will and Nill is a beautifully illustrated story about both the nature of cats and the nature of humans. Told with wit and affection, it explores whether you should accept what you're given (or not given). And sometimes how, by just deciding to have some fun and making a little effort, you can find what you wanted in unexpected places.
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Will and Nill are two alley cats, both very hungry. That's about their only similarity though, for while Will is up and about at cock-crow, Nill yawns and continues to doze. Having tried unsuccessfully to persuade his friend to join him, off goes Will alone. Not to forage first though, for he accepts the invitation to play hide-and-seek with a passing sparrow - at least it provides a distraction from an empty tummy. Not only that but he is eventually rewarded by a half-eaten fish he discovers poking out from the top of the sparrow's third hiding place. Then having promised another game the following day, Will sets about sating his appetite on the tasty treat that awaits him before returning to an even hungrier Nill, and a contented sleep. This fable playfully demonstrates that making just a little effort can make a big difference. There are probably elements of both Nill and Will in all of us, but unexpected good fortune seldom comes to those who do nothing: serendipity seems to favour those that have a bit of get up and go.The flat, almost perspective-less renditions of both cats and cityscapes are at once arresting and wryly winsome; and despite Nill's somnolence, Atieh Markazi really does manage to bring both characters to life in her cat portraits. -- Jill Bennet * Red Reading Hub *

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