Set in an indigenous Mixtec village in the artist’s own Oaxaca, Mexico, the story involves an evil healer, a good healer and his extraordinary feline pets. Though some people fear the cats will eat everything in sight—and maybe even set fire to fields—the animals soon prove their worth and win their way into the villagers’ hearts.
Awards and Distinctions
Film Advisory Board Award for Excellence
“An excellent addition to any library!”
“Witty and complex illustrations.”
—New York Times Book Review”
“100 Children’s Titles for Reading and Sharing”
—New York Public Library
The Story Begins
“There once was a healer who lived alone in a village high in the mountains. You would never see any cats in his village. Not a single one lived there, for it was hot during the day, cold at night, and dusty all the time. It was not a comfortable place for cats, or for anyone else.
It was the healer’s job to care for the sick. He would swish and swoosh fragrant herbs over their heads and sweep their illnesses away. The people of the village depended on the healer and called for him quite often. But since the healer considered it his duty to help, he never asked for money. His patients would pay him with beans or corn, or with a little bit of change that was never enough…”