justice_turtle: Image of the TARDIS in a field on a sunny day (Default)
justice_turtle ([personal profile] justice_turtle) wrote in [community profile] readallthenewberys2013-04-08 10:30 pm

Review: Millions of Cats (Wanda Gág)

Summary: A little old couple are lonely, so the man goes out on his wife's request to find a pet cat. He winds up bringing home "millions and billions and trillions of cats" because he can't decide which is prettiest. The cats fight over which is prettiest till they've all eaten each other up... except one shy, scrawny, ugly little kitten. But with love and proper feeding, that kitten turns into the prettiest cat in the whole world! And the man and the woman and the cat are very happy together, the end. :D

Reaction: It's a fairy tale. Wanda Gág grew up on a German-speaking New England farm where Grimm's fairy tales were told regularly; when she grew up she did wonderful English translations of Grimm, but she also wrote and illustrated some excellent, high-quality fairy tales of her own. "Millions of Cats" is one. For very good reason, it's also the oldest American picture book still in print; Ms Gág's distinctive art is some of the best storytelling art, rather than merely supplemental art, I've ever seen. Every pre-reading toddler (except the ones who would be genuinely scared or upset by even this light treatment of the climactic "they ate each other up" incident - I've known, not to say been, kids like that) should have a board-book of this.

Conclusion: Five stars. I can't criticize Wanda Gág. It's like critiquing Richard Scarry or Dr Seuss. ^_^ MY CHILDHOOD, and objectively good enough to be a recommended part of other people's childhood too.