ISBN 10: 0007395183
Imprint: HarperCollins – GB
When I was little and even a bit more than little my mother often took me to the movies. Usually we saw Disney films or musicals – our favourites. I’m guessing it was around 1964 and I was eight years old when we went to see The 3 Lives of Thomasina which I adored. Some others of a certain vintage may also remember it with Patrick McGoohan, Susan Hampshire and a very young Karen Dotrice. What I didn’t realise at the time was that it was also a very well known book by a very famous author (despite being a voracious reader). When I did discover the book I fell in love with the story all over again and now have had the great pleasure of receiving this new edition in the Collins Modern Classics series.
Seven year old Mary Ruadh is motherless but has a father who loves her beyond life. Of course she loves him as well, though others find him very cold and often crochety. Alas poor Mr McDhui is the village vet, a thwarted doctor due to family pressures and really he’s not very fond of animals. Especially he is resentful of young Mary’s pet Thomasina, a cat of wisdom for whom the child holds a fierce passion.
When Thomasina falls ill, the vet is in the depths of a crisis trying to save a blind man’s dog and callously tells his assistant to put the cat down. Mary’s grief is boundless and her antagonism towards her father is vengeful and actually cruel as a result.
Yet Thomasina is not dead. She is rescued by a strange young woman who lives in the woods as a hermit and tends to the wild creatures. Thomasina’s second life begins in Lori’s cottage and she feels her previous life as an Egyptian deity is back.
Mary’s intensity of grief is so overwhelming and leads to her falling closer and closer to death from a broken heart. Her father is beside himself and has nowhere to turn until he too discovers the compassionate power that Lori holds.
Fey Lori is the catalyst that will provide healing for father, child and cat.
This is an iconic Gallico book full of magic reality. Love, compassion, trust and faith all play their part in this strange and compelling story.
Gallico wrote over forty books (did you know he wrote The Poseidon Adventure?) and many of them feature similar themes and animals.
This is well worth a re-visit and an introduction to a new generation.
Highly recommended for readers from around ten years upwards.
Walker Books Australia
Imprint: Flying Eye Books
This is the third in this stunning series – which as I’ve mentioned before completely and utterly captures my inner nerdy child. Davey explores the world of cats from big to small, weird to wonderful and sweet to savage with his own special brand of contemporary stylised art and quirky facts.
To find out who has the loudest roar, the longest tail, can jump the furthest or who has the strongest jaws, readers can dip and delve to their hearts’ content. The book also examines the evolution of cats as well as mythology surrounding these fascinating creatures.
Move over the pretty and cute books about kittens – I foresee this will be a highly sought after read on our shelves as our cat lovers relish a whole new look at their favourite animal.
Highly recommended for your primary shelves.
Allen & Unwin
Imprint: Bloomsbury Childrens
The second delicious instalment of Miss Petitfour’s adventures has arrived and is every bit as delightful as the first. Who could possibly resist this unique individual and her ‘furry rope’ of cats?
With first an introduction to Miss P and her numerous feline companions, this contains five more slightly silly but very much ‘fun’ stories revolving around everyday life for the elegant but eccentric Miss Petitfour. Whether it’s causing unintentional chaos at the village jumble sale or investigating a mysterious ‘OOM’ noise, Miss P and her band of assistants can fix every problem – even if they accidentally cause it.
One of the absolute delights of these books is Anne Michael’s introduction of sophisticated vocabulary with an explanation of each word. Talking directly to the reader takes the child right into the world that has been created and enables them to feel every bit as exhilarated as the cats having their daily airing.
The first book has been hugely popular in our library so I know this one will also be.
Highly recommended for capable readers from around eight years upwards.
I actually finished reading this a couple of weeks ago and the writing of this review has taken so long because this is so different and so charming I have found it difficult to find the right words.
I could just say it’s an animal adventure story but it is so much more than that. It really puts me in mind of such titles as Watership Down or even Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. Rarely does one read an animal story which truly projects the protagonists as completely sentient thinking creatures.
A small kitten loses one of his nine lives when he narrowly escapes drowning along with the rest of his litter. Little does he know but he is destined to become a hero. The Moon recognises this and blesses him with her naming of him – Malkin Moonlight. This small feline with a huge and magnificent tail has an acute sense for the distress of those in need and quickly loses another life in the first of many rescues.
On his third life, he is rescued in turn by a Domestic named Roux. Together this two form an unbreakable bond and fall in love. Roux chooses to abandon the comforts of domestic living and runs away with Malkin. As they search for a new home they come across a recycling centre populated by cats who are divided into two warring camps. Those on the ‘good’ side of the centre where they have accommodated themselves comfortably and are cared for by the workers; and those who lurk on the toxic dump site over ‘the wall’.
Only Malkin can unite these two factions and create a peace that will last forever. The adventures and dramas along the way are gripping and tense but the love, respect and true compassion of this singular cat and his friends are a remarkable lesson for all readers.
This first novel is destined to become a modern classic in my opinion.
Highly recommended for readers from around 9 years up.
Allen & Unwin
Pub Date:February 2016
Stanley is most definitely not your average moggy. He doesn’t do any of the usual cattish things like chasing mice or having hassles with dogs. He’s not even lazing around sleeping in the sun all day. In fact, he’s always busy knitting.
He knits beanies and balaclavas, socks and scarves, neck warmers and trunk warmers, onesies and woolly jumpers for all his friends.
One day Stanley spies a poster for a grand knitting competition inviting all comers to knit their wackiest woolly wonder. Naturally Stanley is determined to win!
He starts to knit – and knit and knit. All his friends are mad with curiosity. What is it Stanley is making? A giant knitted rainbow? The guesses are many and varied and still Stanley keeps knitting until he runs out wool – oh no! What on earth can he do? There is only one option so Stanley immediately starts unravelling all his friends’ lovely handknits much to their chagrin.
The day of the competition arrives and there is no sign of Stanley in the hall. His friends are none too pleased that their lack of warmth was to no advantage when suddenly they all realise that Stanley is outside in a gigantic knitted hot air balloon ready to whisk them all away to apologise for his unravelling.
Of course, such a splendid woolly wonder is a winner and Stanley ends up with a lifetime of supply of wool with all his friends being more than amply clothed.
This is a fun read for little people with lots of colour and surely a great opportunity to introduce some knitting to children whether finger, French or regular!!