Through the eyes of a cat, we see the story of two Israeli soldiers in Bethlehem who take over a home in order to watch for terrorists. While at first the home seems empty, Clare, the cat, shows them that a little Palestinian boy, Omar, is hiding there. Clare peppers her narration with memories of her past, when she used to be a girl: “My name is still Clare. That much is the same, although no one calls me Clare anymore. No one calls me anything anymore. I died when I was thirteen and came back as a cat.”
A complicated story unfolds, brilliantly told by a cat who only looks out for herself. The conflict between Palestinians and Israelis is shown with nuance, although no solutions are presented, other than a desire for peace and a desire to be useful. Yes, in the end, Clare the cat does save the day, but only the day–a small portion of the day–and Deborah Ellis gives us an ending with a realistic portion of hope.
A Cat At The Wall is a rare book for children about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.