Cats are hitting the headlines recently, thanks to a the Animal Rescue League of Berks County’s “Book Buddies” program, wherein cute kids hone their reading skills through story time with shelter kitties. But if you know cats, you know they will not just stand to have any old book read to them. So here are my suggestions for cat-centric reading selections that everyone can sink their claws into, from kitten to cougar.
The Cat in the Hat. Is there anyone not aware of the spazzy antics of the crazy Cat with the red and white stripped hat? The magnificent Dr. Seuss specifically penned this childrens book to encourage reading by way of fun books, rather than the boring primers that were the norm, back in the day. Cats and kids alike will delight in the adventures Sally and Dick are treated to, courtesy of the original incorrigible cat.
Garfield. Speaking of incorrigible cats – pull up the morning paper and dig into the trials and tribulations of long-suffering Garfield, the permanently hungry, generally annoyed, really lazy orange tabby created by Jim Davis. Watch Garfield sleep through a hated Monday, consume every edible in sight, think up a crazy scheme to get rid of Odie the dog once and for all, and foil the romantic overtures of owner Jon and veterinarian Liz. Best part of this is that kids will actually read the original comic strips or books, and stay away from the TV versions, which, naturally, are never as good as on paper.
Socks. Tween-age dream writer Beverly Cleary, famous for her Ramona Quimby series, introduced us to Socks, the lovable tabby (completely opposite of Garfield) who is experiencing baby-envy after his humans, Bill and Marilyn, go and have a baby without first checking with their cat. This is actually a great pick for kids with siblings on the way, as Socks goes through most of the the grief stages (depression, anger, acting out, and finally warm family cuddles) trying to find a way to fit back in with his family, who temporarily lose their minds over baby Charles, only to realize there’s room enough, and love, for everyone in their family. It’s a sweet, happy ending.
Girl with the Cat Tattoo. Romance writer Theresa Weir writes from the perspective of three characters: Melody, a mild-mannered children’s librarian by day and party girl by night; Joe, a slightly mysterious good guy introduced to Melody by the third pov, Max, Melody’s cat. Can Max hook up Melody and Joe and thereby cure Melody’s broken heart? As one review put it: “This book will make you laugh out loud, sigh, hug your cat, then hug your boyfriend.”And don’t miss the follow up – Geek with the Cat Tattoo, which brings in a rascally Tomcat for his two cents.
On Cats: Consisting of a celebrated collection of stories, Doris Lessing’s Particularly Cats, Rufus the Survivor, and memoir The Old Age of El Magnifico, this collection is a must for any cat lover. What other writer could so easily convey the relationship between people and our cats, and remind readers of why we love the finicky four-legged creatures in the first place?
Mrs. Murphy mystery series: Co-authored by Rita Mae (human) and Sneaky Pie Brown (feline), this series features Mary Minor “Harry” Haristeen, cat detectives Mrs. Murphy and Pewter, and Tee Tucker, the crime-solving corgi, who solve murder mysteries in the small town of Crozet, Virginia. Together, they face crimes such as the killer trying to ruin everyone’s Halloween (The Litter of the Law), the killer trying to ruin Christmas (Santa Clawed), and the killer trying to ruin the wedding of Mary Minor “Harry” Haristeen. Sneaky Pie even decides to leave rural Virginia to run for President of the United States! (Sneaky Pie for President). It doesn’t get much cattier than this.
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