Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Byr): Vroom! by Barbara McClintock

Land of the Rising Cat: Japan's Feline Fascination

According to a 2014 shocking reveal by creator Sanrio Japan, Hello Kitty isn't actually feline, she's a British child. Nevertheless, "this culture of anthropomorphic kitties is one of the reasons feline fever has taken so many forms," including--a Japanese historical first!--cat-owners surpassing dog-owners in 2017. The country's "unprecedented boom" originates from centuries of claiming cats as "cherished companions," but social media and a quickly aging population (cats are easier for the elderly) are making kitties more prominent than ever--not only as pets, but as "a ubiquitous presence in art, design and popular culture."

In Land of the Rising Cat, Japanese writer and journalist Manami Okazaki (Kawaii! Japanese Culture of Cute) gathers tales of temples and cemeteries, islands and train stations, artists and activists, cafes and inns--all devoted to cats--throughout Japan. She interviews experts and enthusiasts along the way. Full-color photos enhance every page, tempting, celebrating, fueling readers' furry feline obsessions. --Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon