"Mrs. Jane Tabby could not explain why all four of her children had wings." So starts the first of four magical little books about cat siblings Thelma, Roger, James, and Harriet. The four live with their mother in a terrible neighborhood, filled with rubbish, hungry dogs, fierce rats, and too many cars. Their mother plans to have another litter with Mr. Tom Jones, and she informs her children the time has come for them to fly far away and find a better place to live. They head west, away from the city, and make their nest in a hole halfway up a big elm where they can be safe.
The birds are outraged when the cats arrive. "Shocking! Unheard of! Not allowed!" cry the songbirds, worried about their eggs and babies. When the Owl sees James fly by, chasing bats, she thinks, "This will not do," and pursues James, who escapes, but only just, his left wing badly wounded. After that, the Tabbies hunt for food in the daytime and hide from the Owl all night. Then Harriet encounters a girl named Susan Brown, who sets out a plate of dinner for the hungry cat. Can the Tabbies trust a human being?
Themes : CATS. FANTASY. FLIGHT. WINGS.
CRITICS HAVE SAID
- LeGuin, author of the distinguished Earthsea Trilogy and other books, has written a small gem of a book, with convincing and intriguing characters. Dark watercolor etchings by Schindler further convey the plight of these airborne felines and their seeking of a home.
IF YOU LOVE THIS BOOK, THEN TRY:
- Averill, Esther. Jenny and the Cat Club: A Collection of Favorite Stories about Jenny Linsky. New York Review Children’s Collection, 2003, c1973.Averill, Esther. The School for Cats. New York Review Children’s Collection, 2005, c1947.
Byars, Betsy. The Winged Colt of Casa Mia. Viking, 1973.
Gannett, Ruth Stiles. My Father’s Dragon. Random House, 1986, c1948.
Geras, Adele. The Cats of Cuckoo Square: Two Stories. Delacorte, 2001.
Gormley, Beatrice. Mail-Order Wings. Dutton, 1981.
King-Smith, Dick. Martin’s Mice. Crown, 1989.
Le Guin, Ursula. Catwings Return. Orchard, 2006, c1989.
Le Guin, Ursula. Jane on Her Own: A Catwings Tale. Orchard, 2003, c1999.
Le Guin, Ursula. Wonderful Alexander and the Catwings. Orchard, 2006, c1994.
Pinkney, Brian. The Adventures of Sparrowboy. Simon & Schuster, 1997.
Sleigh, Barbara. Carbonel: The King of Cats. New York Review Children’s Collection, 2003, c1955.
Ward, Lynd. The Silver Pony. Houghton Mifflin, 1973.