by Lloyd Alexander, first published 1963
“The only thing a cat worries about is what’s happening right now. As we tell the kittens, you can only wash one paw at a time.”
I love this children’s book. But in the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit any well-written children’s book which includes cats will win my heart. This children’s book stands out through the heart-felt and accurate portrayal of cats and their behavior, sharing traits that are often missed by non-cat lovers.
Whether you love cats or not, this gentle children’s book is well-written, fun to read, and educational. Each chapter takes the reader into another historical time period, where the culture is fairly accurately portrayed, as we glimpse the local attitude towards cats. Every chapter has an adventure of its own, with a very satisfying and successful conclusion. The uplifting message in each chapter allows us to see that even what appear to be difficult human traits can eventually be overcome, especially if you are in the company of a clever cat. For sensitive or younger children, I would perhaps advise skipping the chapter on witches, which is historically accurate, but could be upsetting to younger children.
The book isn’t really historical fiction, as much as it is historical fantasy; the historical element in the book is a great way to review different time periods that an older child may have studied. While this classic children’s book has been around for quite a while, I read it for the first time this year, and it felt as if it were written just yesterday!
Check out other other books by Lloyd Alexander if you like this one. This is an enjoyable book for ages 8 – 12.