Harper & Row Publishers (now known as HarperCollins), 1983
Illustrations by Erik Blegvard
Wonderful story of a barn cat who decides he is not supposed to be a barn cat. He is born in a hay loft and when just a few months old he is taken in by the farmer’s daughter, Emma. She dresses him up like a doll in socks and bonnets and dresses. As time goes on he isn’t as important to Emma as he once was but he doesn’t mind because of Juniper, the farmer’s border collie. His first winter Emma dresses him up in a knitted ski suit and promptly forgets about him. He sets about trying to take the outfit off and in a fit trying to outrun his clothes he dashes out of the house and runs away. That run begins a year and half adventure trying to find his forever home. After being scared up a tree (literally) by a big dog, he eventually finds a home in a gas station until he is abused by the owner’s son. The owner, Jerry, takes the cat to a couple who takes in unwanted and hurt animals. He stayed there for a while until he is adopted by a new family. In his new home, he is well-fed and warm but unnoticed and escapes into the wild. After almost a year on his own he finds his way back to the Jaffee’s, his forever home and is welcomed by his best friends.
- a black, white footed, polydactyl barn cat named Tootsy-Wootsy, Snowshoes, Max, Mistletoes and finally and forever, Max.
- Juniper, a border collie and a sleeping buddy on the farm
- Emma, farmer’s daughter who dressed him up like a baby doll
- Jerry, gas station owner who befriended Tootsy-Wootsy and renamed him Snowshoes
- Mr. & Mrs. Jaffee, a couple who rescues unwanted and hurt animals and named him Max
- the Oliver family, who adpoted Max and renamed him Mistletoes
- Mouse, a brown rabbit (former easter basket resident who got too big) & Cleopatra, a dachshund-beagle mix (who got too old, too fat and too blind for her owners) who become best friends with Max at the Jaffee’s
This is a really sweet book for early – to – young readers. The writing is richly descriptive, but not overly so (“Rain sounded like millions of tiny bird claws on the roof. Or like drums beating. When the moon coursed the sky, the straw turned silver.”) The author describes Max as a kitten with “Six toes on each foot. Front and back. As he grew, his feet grew with him. They were white. He looked like a black kitten who took a daily walk through a dish of whipped cream.”
Max did walk, but not through whipped cream! His story walked right into my heart. Especially since I have white feet like he does! Loved the story and want to read more of Mrs. Stolz’s books.
Rating: 4 paws for a heart-warming story of animal rescue and love.
(I do wish to apologize for the poor resolution of the book cover. My human was unable to find a decent, clear picture of the book cover on the internet and our copy doesn’t have the book jacket. Also, Laura will be back soon with her review of Radiant Shadows.)
Mary Stolz (photo courtesy HarperCollins)
Mary Stolz books I want to read: