Thursday, January 28, 2010

Read This: Millions of Cats

You have probably seen this book before at some point in your lives, but I am just here to remind you about it, just in case: Millions of Cats by Wanda Gag. Such a queer and wonderful little story with all these lovely black ink illustrations that manage to capture all the fantastical detail of a man who goes out to find a cat for him and his wife because they are lonely...only to end up coming back with hundreds of cats, thousands of cats, millions and billions and trillions of cats.
I have vague memories of reading this book as a child and when I rediscovered it in a small neighborhood bookstore in St Paul, well, I had to buy it for Beeper. He loves the book too, of course. It always makes him laugh incredulously at how the cats drink up the entire pond. And I often find myself thinking when reading it, Does this guy not realize how rank his house will become if he brings home billions of cats?
I also was reminded of this book while our cat, Phoebe was sick and dying because Beeper made a wish at one point that the all the kitties in the world would live forever (and then for good measure, wished that his wish would come true). And all I could think was, Hundreds of cats, thousands of cats, millions and billions and trillions of cats. And I imagined the hoards of cats at our door, Phoebe at their head. But back to the book...
I am not sure the key messages you are supposed to take away from this book--perhaps there is something about the need to narrow your options and make choices (as opposed to being so indecisive you bring home the whole damn lot of millions of cats), and there might be something in here as well about vanity since the desire to be considered the prettiest cat did lead to their untimely demise--or was that simply nature self-moderating her population in that cruel way and violent way she does? The book was a Newberry Medal Honor book, in case you would like to know that. Whatever the case, you should read this book. Your library is almost certain to have it--and you can pick it up for $5 or something at the bookstore if you want your own copy. It is one of my all time faves, really.

On a side note, have you noticed how bossy I have become? Read This! Drink This! Eat That! Pretty soon I am going to start ordering you to make what I make too, and then who knows what else...maybe clean my bathroom tile grout?

7 comments:

Ammie said...

I love this book, too, and all things Wanda Gag. Yes, I will read it!

Lola Nova said...

We have a book called 'Hundreds and Hundreds of Pancakes" which you would think would be more desirable than millions of cats but, there does end up being hundreds of zoo animals stampeding The Frizzlewits' house so...

Amy Hanson said...

You ARE bossy. But when it comes from someone as brilliant as you, I don't mind a bit.

Silvia said...

I just found a copy of this at the thrift store last week and read it to my five year old son for the first time. Instantly a fave in our home.

meg said...

do you mean the Wild Rumpus? because that has to be the best bookstore ever.

Holly said...

The Wild Rumpus is the best book store ever--I keep meaning to do a blog post about it. But I actually meant The Essence of Nonsense--which is in St Paul (Wild Rumpus is Minneapolis), and is much smaller than the Rumpus. I think The Essence of Nonsense may have closed it doors though now...whatever the case, you could totally find the book at the Rumpus because I think they have EVERY good book for kids ever written. Also, you have been there! That's cool.

vanessa said...

I've seen this book at the library, but always pass it up because it looked a little over my three-year old's head. But I think I will have to check it out now--you've piqued my curiosity!