Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Millions and Billions of Cats.

For some people who are near my age know few television shows for children existed.  
File:Bob Keeshan Hugh Brannum Captain Kangaroo 1960.JPG
Source: Wikipedia, God Bless 'Em
My favorite: Captain Kangaroo, who was an affable fellow who did very little except talk to us---the kids watching the show.  He read books to us, showing pages as he read.  Ingenious!

Wanda Gag Millions of Cats-book cover.jpg
Source

The book I best remember is Millions of Cats, written and illustrated by Wanda Gág in 1928 and the oldest American picture book still in print.  The text was hand-lettered by her brother.  This book won the Newbery Honor award in 1929, one of the very few picture books achieving this honor.

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Ms. Gag was the first children book author to have the image and story extend from one page to the next.

Enough.  The story is about an elderly couple who discover they are lonely and think having a cat would help.  The husband heads out to find the most beautiful cat possible for his wife. 

He travels far from home, until he comes upon a hill covered with in cats.  “Cats here, cats there, Cats and kittens everywhere.  Hundreds of cats, thousands of cats.  Millions and billions and trillions of cats…”  This phrase repeats all through the book.

NOTE: The man cannot decide, so he walks back home with all the cats trailing after him. 

 His wife is upset with him, since he doesn't seem to realize how impossible it would be to feed and care for all these cats. Wouldn't we all??

Wise wife told the cats that they could decide which one should stay by asking “Which one of you is the prettiest?”

All hell breaks loose as the cats erupt in an incredible cat fight.  The couple lock themselves up in the house.  When there is silence outside, they emerge to see no cats.  They had apparently eaten each other up in their jealous fury!

They find a skinny scraggly cat hiding in tall grass—safe because it didn’t think it was pretty.  They took the cat home and all were happy.
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Source

Now, isn't that this the most amazing story to read to a four or five year old youngster sitting in front of the television?  Then, no child would think or question about the blood and guts that would be lying around.  But still, I have never forgotten it.

This post was from Feb. 5, 2014.  This book is firmly imprinted on my brain. This re-posting is to bring such a deligh

14 comments:

  1. I must've read it at some point because I do recall the story line.

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  2. The poor kitties scrapping like that all because - who is the fairest one of them all? My heart sank when I read what happened but hooray for the happy ending!

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  3. That is a rather violent kids book lol good moral though I suppose.

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  4. It's funny what we think is appropriate for children. Some of the Grimm's fairy tales are really rather bizarre in their original iterations. Yet, at one time those were considered children's stories. I don't know if the changes are good or bad. But it's definitely a change.

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  5. My dad read books to my sister. This was one of her favorites.

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  6. Not one I knew. And definitely one I would have loved.
    Children's tales have always been violent haven't they?

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  7. TV wasn't part of my childhood, but books, radio and pictures/movies were. We never missed the Saturday afternoon matinees!

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  8. I've never heard of this book but already I love it. I wonder if my library could find it for me? I could read it to the littlest family member, soon to be three.

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  9. Gosh Susan - I definitely have never heard of that one or the books ... what a wonderful story line .. cheers Hilary

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  10. There are a few lessons to be learned in that story. One is that it is best to hide in the bushes and let the idiots fight it out.

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  11. What a bizarre sounding story. I've never heard of this book, but my mother hated cats so she'd have never bought me this book anyway. The old non-politically correct stories of old including classic fairy tales would never pass muster these days.

    Now Captain Kangaroo is a show to which I can relate. I rarely missed an episode and I loved every minute of it. Funny how entertaining shows can be without a bunch of high technology behind them. Though again, I don't know that a show like this would appeal to today's kids.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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  12. I used to love 'The Captain' and Mr. Green Jeans. But that story...oh my....I doubt you would get away with reading that to children on TV now.

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  13. That looks like just the sort of book that Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar would read to me. Pawhaps, um, perhaps not! :)

    I remember Captain Kangaroo from my childhood years. In Canada, we had "The Friendly Giant."

    Gary

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  14. Oh I LOVED Captain Kangaroo! That was my favorite when I was a kid too. I don't remember this book though but I would have loved it LOL.

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Go ahead...it won' t hurt...I'd love to hear what you think!