Smokey the Well Loved Kitten

Alice Goudey

Cadmus Books, E. M. Hale and Company, 1952

While Toby is off reading yet another Septimus Heap book (just how many are there???) I wanted to get in a review of my book. This one is about a little girl named Ellen who finds out she is getting a kitten and how she and her mother prepare for him. She learns how to take care of him and, as all kittens do, he gets into trouble!

Main characters

o   Ellen, the little girl
o   Mother – she knows all about taking care of kittens because “I had millions and billions and trillions of cats when I was a little girl….”
o   Father – not very supportive of Ellen getting a kitten and did not like Smokey when he came home, “I’m getting rid of the kitten as soon as I can find a home for him.”
o   Smokey, the kitten – “Soft fur, almost like a wreath of blue-grey smoke, covered the kitten’s plump body. Even his whiskers were a smokey blue.”

Secondary characters

o   Aunt Tessie – Susie’s human
o   Susie – Smokey’s Maltese mother
o   Uncle Joe – Aunt Tessie’s husband and deliverer of Smokey
o   Mr. Petruzzi and Chico – owner of the fruit stand and his black and yellow tiger cat. Mr. Petruzzi teaches Ellen how to pet a kitten.
o   Mr. Jessup and Black Satin – pet shop owner and his black kitten. Mr. Jessup teaches Ellen how to pick up a kitten.

 What a book! What a difference in how kittens were cared for 60 years ago to now. When my mom took me in she gave me dry kitten chow and wet, canned kitten food. In 1952, or earlier, I guess there was no premade kitten food and the humans fed you their food. Here is the shopping list for Smokey’s food:

“He may have raw beef, chopped fine,
Boiled lamb or veal
Cod fish, halibut or haddock
An egg, raw or soft boiled
Cereal, such as pablum, shredded wheat or cooked oatmeal.
“He may also have a few drops of tomato or orange juice
A little butter to make his coat thick and glossy
A few drops of cod liver oil
Some lime water to make his bones and teeth strong,
And, of course, milk.
“When he’s three months old he may have some chopped vegetables,” said Mother, “such as string beans, carrots, asparagus tips or spinach.”

Can I eat like Smokey, please, mom?

I was scared when I first read how mean Father was toward Smokey. He shouted at him and tried to kick him and even called him “Stupid!” That’s a little harsh, don’t you think? The book does present the clearly defined roles of men and women in the 1950’s, with Mother being supportive, subordinate and soft-spoken while Father went to work each day, paid little attention to Ellen, and being loud and blustery.  But it is interesting to read how previous generations lived and to see how different we are from them. I wonder how will future generations react when they read how we lived?

Anyway, cute book for kids, but they need to be reassured that even though Father is really mean to Smokey at first, everything works out in the end.

4 paw rating for cuteness and a retro-vibe, but 1 paw is lost because of the scary way the character of Father is written; after all, this is a book for children!

3-paws, and it is a keeper on our shelves.

bobbiesue pawbobbiesue pawbobbiesue paw  bobbiesue headshot

Reviewer: BobbiSue



My human searched and searched for a photo of Alice E. Goudey but couldn’t find one. So instead, here’s some other books by her.

Here Come the Cottontails 379954 1582701



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