Wednesday, August 31, 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

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.

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.

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


  1. Never heard of the book, but what a lovely story. Lovely moral too.

  2. Hey Susan,

    I thought I was going totally crazy. Yes, I'm sure I commented on this post recently. Not back in February, 2014.

    Penny wants to read that amazing book you have featured.


  3. I don't know the book. I do remember Captain Kangaroo. It came on just before (or just after) Patches and Pockets. :)

  4. I guess there's more than one way to choose a cat.


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