Review Blog

Oct 24 2017

Katinka's tail by Judith Kerr

cover image

HarperCollins, 2017. ISBN 9780008255299
(Age: 4+) Cats, Difference, Fantasy. An older woman and her cat live an uneventful life. Each morning the cat climbs the creeper on the outside of the house so that when the woman opens the curtains, there she is. They play together, then cat follows the woman to the shops and waits for her to return, helping her unpack the groceries. At night Katinka goes out into the forest and in the morning the woman must clean up the dead mice on the kitchen floor. As they walk people often stop to admire the cat, commenting on its tail. Some are even rude about the cat.
But the two are fond of each other and do all sorts of things together. One night the woman wakes and looks out of the window to see her cat being chased by a number of other animals. She follows the throng to find that Katinka's tail has become a golden beacon, and they fly up into the clouds.
The woman eventually lands back in bed and when she wakes the next morning, Katinka is there, outside her window with the same golden tail that she saw during the night.
This magical tale will enchant younger readers for whom magic is simply a part of their world. The ordinary cat becomes something more when during the night the tail takes on magical qualities and the group flies into the sky. The woman is easily recognised by readers as an archetype Grandma, in her sensible shoes, fluffy slippers, and teapot on the table. Children will be enchanted by her as they appreciate the attributes of the woman and her companion.
Fran Knight

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