Review Blog

Jul 09 2015

The cat who came in off the roof by Annie M. G. Schmidt

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Allen & Unwin. Imprint: Pushkin Children's Books, 2015. ISBN 9781782690368
(Age: 12+) Highly recommended. Have you heard of this author? No, neither had I but the title intrigued me - I do like an interesting title. Plus I'm a cat person. This charming novel held my interest fully for the return trip to the city today.
Tibbles is a journalist - but not your average one. He is painfully shy, he is an excellent writer but seems to find only stories that are not 'newsworthy' and he is a cat lover. When his editor threatens him with dismissal if there is 'just one more cat story', Tibbles is at a loss. Then Minou appears - literally, 'treed' by a ferocious dog in his local park and then later in the evening by crawling through his attic window. A strangely attractive young woman, Minou exhibits cattish behaviours - well, after all, she's been 'treed' by a dog and now she is in Tibbles' kitchen gnawing on a fish skeleton from his rubbish bin!
So begins one of the most delightful and original novels I have read in a long while. Minou is in fact a cat, who has somehow become a human, though not without her erstwhile tendencies as a feline. Tibbles begins his ascendancy and redemption as a journalist when Minou starts to bring him tidbits from the 'Cat Press Agency'. Obviously the many cats of a small town would have insight into much of the town's real news.
This is such a happy read - easy, light, almost - dare I say it? - fluffy! I loved it! I urge you to read the love story of Tibbles and Minou - with its unfolding drama due to the obligatory villain. Having just recently revisited the 101 dalmations with the wonderful 'twilight barking' sending of information, this truly resonated.
From the publisher: 'Annie M. G. Schmidt was regard as the Queen of Dutch Children's Literature and her books have been an essential part of of every Dutch childhood for the last fifty years. (She trained as a librarian!).'
I thank her for bringing some real reading joy to my life at the moment.
Highly recommended for readers of around 12 and up!!
Sue Warren

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