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Adventures in Children’s Media: Rich Cat, Poor Cat

Plot: Stray cat Scat’s humble, lonely existence is compared with that of the more fortunate felines around her, until (spoiler alert) she finally finds a home of her own.  Sniff.

Child Enjoyment: 10/10  The six-year-old checked this book out of the school library after hearing the librarian read it aloud.  He tells me he has been reading it to himself every morning when he wakes up.  As he wakes up at 5:30 a.m., we’ll have to take his word for it.

Parent Enjoyment: 10/10  I’m a massive softie for animal rescue and hard-knock cases.  Scat’s predicament is about as sad as they come.

Age Appropriate: The school librarian thinks so, which is good enough for me.

Pain Factor: None.  Zilch.  Zero.  Loved this little book.  Okay, that’s not entirely true.  It’s sad and upsetting to watch Scat suffer, even if she smiles through much of her misfortune.  Yes, I know that Scat’s fictitious.  You got a problem with that?

Story Assessment:  Rich Cat, Poor Cat, by Bernard Waber, follows the travails of the homeless Scat, an urban stray who thinks her name is Scat because that’s what people yell at her when they see her.  Scat’s “poor cat” existence is compared throughout with that of the more privileged house cats.  We are told that some cats sleep on pillows, while Scat sleeps on the street.  Some cats are surrounded by friendly faces.  Scat would love to find just one.   Some cats are given food.  Scat must scavenge.  Little Scat is remarkably upbeat for an animal constantly foraging for food and struggling to survive, but as her situation is revealed to be more and more dire, it is revealed that what Scat really wants, more than anything, is to be somebody’s cat.  This being a storybook, Scat ultimately gets her wish.  She is adopted by a little girl who gives her a home, a bed, and a new name – Gwendolyn.

See?  Now I’m going to cry.

In Summation:  This is a lovely little book.  It is unfortunately out of print.  Still, the internet being the wonderful place that it is, you easily find copies of it at places like Amazon.


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