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The Four Ugly Cats in Apartment 3D: 03/03/08
A forgotten key leads to a friendship between Lily and her "mean, unfriendly, and nasty [and] ugly" neighbor Mr. Freeman and his four equally ugly cats. Lily learns to appreciate the cats for their own unique qualities and decides to find homes for them when Mr. Freeman dies.
The bulk of the story is Lily's attempts to find homes for the four cats whom she names Barney, Barbie, Dolly and Leonardo. Her goal is to find homes for them before the apartment manager calls the SPCA and has them taken away and killed. There is just one problem with this threat, the San Francisco SPCA is a no-kill shelter; had this book been set anywhere else, I would have believed the treat. Nonetheless, Lily does believe the threat and works quickly to find homes.
What I liked most about the story was how Lily took responsibility for the cats even when the adults around her were unwilling or unable to help her. Marilyn Sachs did a good job of revealing the cats' personalities as Lily gains their trust. She wisely chose to end the story on a bittersweet note in regards to Leonardo's fate; not all animals can be found homes but it is worth trying to anyway.