No Kiss for Mother by Tomi Ungerer

No Kiss for Mother by Tomi Ungerer

Gawd, I love this cat, Piper Paw.  He is such a trouble-maker.  He throws an alarm clock out  window which smashes the windshield of his dad’s car.  (Pop’s is a supervisor at a rat-processing plant.)  He  refuses to brush his teeth, or wash his face, and reads soggy comics behind a closed and locked bathroom door.  He crumples the clothes that his mother has neatly laid out for him,  because he doesn’t want to look like a “postcard kitty”.  But most of all, he hates being kissed by his mother. It makes him hiss at her.

He is such a vexing, mischievous kitten–which is my kind of cat. And the things he does at school.  He rarely does his homework, but his grades are good. (I sailed through both elementary and high school, by the seat of my furry pants…reading forbidden books about naughty cats, such as,  Lady Fluffy’s Lover.)  Piper Paw loves practical jokes which includes sprinkling catnip on all the other kitty students,  stuffing the teacher’s handbag with live spiders, and pouring glue down the girl kitties’ necks.  And don’t even get me going on what is in his locker:  fireworks, smoke bombs, and bobby traps; great tools to cause havoc in the class room.

On this one particular day Piper Paw gets into a huge fight with Jefferson Bully.  They bite and claw at each other, rolling around in the mud.  By the end of the fight half Piper Paw’s ear is gone and both are marched off to the school nurse.  The iodine and the stitching back of the ear cause yowls of pain.  To add to Piper’s misery, his mom, Mrs. Velvet Paw, decides to come by the school and take him out to lunch.  When she see him all stitched up she covers him with kisses….making Piper howl, “Kisses, kisses all the time.  I don’t like it.  I don’t want it.”  

But his embarrassment doesn’t end there.  The waiting taxi driver scolds Piper Paw for his outburst, and his kind, gentle, sweet mother slaps Piper, something she has never done before.  When mother and kitten reach the restaurant they are both silent.  The mole innards casserole remains untouched. Piper slinks out of the restaurant; returning to school,  and promptly empties his locker of stink bombs, fire works, and an awesome sling shot.  He sells his arsenal to fellow kitty cats.  He takes the money to the local florist buying a bouquet of yellow roses.  And with the promise of no more kisses, he proudly presents the pretty yellow flowers to his mom.  

 

 

 

 

The Three Robbers, by Tomi Ungerer

The Three Robbers, by Tomi Ungerer

A long, long time ago, three fearsome robbers with tall black hats, roamed all over the country-side.  They threw pepper in the horses’ faces to stop carrages and then chopped up the wheels with a bright red ax.    All the humans were scared to death and even the dogs ran away.  (Of course, if cats had been here, they would not have run away, but would have scratched out the eyes of the robbers.  Next time the author should consult me).  The robbers hid their loot in a cave, where they had trunks full of jewels, gold, and precious stones.  

But one day the robbers stumbled upon a carriage carrying only a small orphan girl, named Tiffany.  She was on her way to live with a wicked old aunt so was very happy to see the robbers.  But what’s a robber to do with a little girl?  They bundled her up, and took her to their cave of treasures and made soft bed for her.  Next morning she got up and stumbled upon all the treasure and asked what they intended to do with all their loot.  They didn’t have a clue.  

So the robbers set out to find unhappy and abandoned children, and took them to live in a beautiful castle which they had bought with their loot.  As the news spread all over the land, more and more children arrived on the doorstep, and were given shelter in the castle.  And they grew up, built a village, and lived happily ever after. 

 I have to say this is a really good ending.  In fact, I liked this story so much, that I decided to dress up like a cat robber as you can see from the photo.  Do you think I would scare humans with my mask?  I think so.  So maybe someday I will roam the land and rob and steal, so I can build a home with plenty of food for all the abandoned, hungry, and lost kittens

An Elephant in the Garden by Michael Morpurgo

An Elephant in the Garden by Michael Morpurgo

 

I have always liked elephants–big gentle creatures with a long fat tail called a trunk that sticks out in front of their face.  This story takes place during something called World War II in a country called Germany, and a town called Dresden.  I learned that  humans like to fight more than cats…and they use big metal objects that go boom and that drop bombs on other humans.  Go figure.  At least when cats fight they only use their claws.  

Well it seems there’s this family and the mom of the family (the dad is off in place called the Russia fighting other humans) is a zookeeper who looks after a young elephant, named Marlene.  .  She has two children, a boy and girl.  Well there are rumors that their village of Dresden will be bombed so she gets permission to take the elephant to live in their backyard.  What fun!  Well guess what?  The rumors turn out to be true and bombs start falling, and she the kids start running with a big ole elephant.  Pretty decent humans if you ask me…because lord knows they sure attracted a lot of attention with an elephant lumbering beside them.     

They run and run and run.    They run for shelter to a relative’s abandoned farm house where they meet the “enemy,” a Canadian airman whose plane was shot down.  But he turns out to be a really nice guy.  But soon they must leave, so they run away from the roads, going through the woods, and Marlene has the greatest time frolicking in the streams and among the leaves.  They run during the night and away from the Russians who are chasing them.  They ran through rain, and mud, and frost, and Marlene, the gentle giant, keeps their spirits up, plodding along with them. 

Finally, they run to a large house, where a “countess” (I think a countess is some kind of special human), gives them shelter along with dozens of other humans who are running.  But they have to leave the house and run again, and this time they take along a children’s choir on their journey, the kids taking  turns riding on top of Marlene’s back as they run away from the enemy.    

But Marlene is so used of running, that one day when she runs into some tanks (tanks are big lumbering hulks of metal on wheels with a couple of humans inside driving them), she just keeps running and leaves her human friends behind.  

This was a pretty cool book, and fortunately, the human author made Marlene, the elephant, the star of the story–as well he should.  Because really the elephant saved the humans from death, keeping their spirits and protecting them as they ran from all sorts of enemies.  And what happened to Marlene you ask?  She finally stopped running when she joined a circus, making humans laugh as she had always done.  

Liberty Lion: by Michelle Knudsen

Liberty Lion: by Michelle Knudsen

Hey kids, my cousin, Mr. Lion, is the hero in this story.  One day, he wanders into a library, where the head librarian, a Miss Merriweather,  is very fussy about the rules.  You know that kind of human librarian I mean:  The one that says, “Don’t talk out loud,  walk don’t run.”  Cats, as you know, like to break the rules.

But what a bad ass and cool kitty cat Mr. Lion is.  He takes charge.  He walks over to the human children’s  story corner and promptly plops down on the floor, taking a nap, before waking up to listen to the story.   The next day he arrives early and dusts the books, licks the envelopes, and allows small children to climb on his back, so they can reach the books on high shelves.  No one knows quite what to do with Mr. Lion,  because you see there were no rules against lions being in the library.

One day Miss Merriweather tries to reach a book from a very high shelf, and falls to the floor. “Go get help,” Mr. Lion, she crys out.  Off the lion runs (even though the rule said, “no running in the library.”)  He discovers a Mr. McBee, another human librarian, and roars his loudest roar…Rooooarrrrrrrrr, hoping the dumb human will understand that a librarian has crashed to the floor and broken her arm.   “You broke the rules,” said Mr. McBee,  and Mr. Lion hung his head head shame and left the library.  And then he disappeared.

The next day, Mr. Lion did not show up for Story Hour. He did not help the librarian reshelve the books.  Mr. Lion wasn’t in the library to help children reach for top shelves to get books. Had Mr. Lion gone back to the jungle to chase antelope?  Perhaps, Mr. Lion had fallen off a cliff into the oceian?  So finally, one day in the pouring rain, Mr. McBee searches  all over the city to find the lion and finally found him outside the library looking in the windows.  There’s a new library rule, said Mr. McBee.  “No roaring allowed unless there’s a good reason.”  Because sometimes there’s a good reason to break the rules…even in the library. So Mr. Lion puts one heavy foot after another and walks back into the library.

Never Drink Alone

Never Drink Alone

Humans apparently do not like to drink alone—and neither do cats.  We will even lower our standards to drink, dare I say, with a dog (if there are no humans around).  Well what do you know.  There’s this company (Woof and Brew)  “across the pond,” (that’s how humans talk when they describe this kingdom, called “Great Britain”) that makes beer, wine–and hangover tonics for cats and dogs. So you can even share a hangover cure with your human.

I invited my doggy friend, TommyBoy,  to share a beer called, “Bottom Sniffer,” a beverage for dogs with healthy stuff like iron and iodine.  After drinking a few bottles, we bragged about how many fish we each caught (I beat him of course, as dogs are pretty lousy fishermen).  TommyBoy bragged that he was better at chasing cars, but who in their right mind would chase a car?  I lost that one.  We also boasted about our respective love lives, and I think we all know who came out ahead in this arena.  TommyBoy drank far too much beer so I had to share the hang-over tonic that got rid of his doggy breath and made him feel better.

There’s even a wine for dogs AND CATS called “Pawsecco, ” made up of elderflower, nettle, ginseng, and lime flower. (Unfortunately, my clueless caretaker did not buy me a bottle of wine.  Very thoughtless of her.)  I understand after drinking a few glasses of this elixir, you feel like you’re in charge of the world.

Woof and Brew even makes an herbal tonic, called “Windy Hound” that helps get rid of unpleasant orders that erupt from a dog’s rear end.    Or as the company says, “a  few caps a day keeps the farts away.”  (Cats rarely fart, and if they do, their farts smell like lavender on a sweet summer day.)

If you can persuade your care taker to buy some of these items (or steal their credit card and buy all by yourself), go to woofandbrew.com

A Review of a Post-Modern Painting of the Pear, An Object that Represents our Relationship with the Chaotic World

A Review of a Post-Modern Painting of the Pear, An Object that Represents our Relationship with the Chaotic World

I

I’ve decided to spread my wings and critique paintings made by humans.  A painting is where a human puts dabs of color on something called a “canvas,” white scratchy material stretched over slivers of wood.  They call this “art.”

I’m staring at a painting by Madam Butka that features pears.  It’s a wonderful piece and so skillfully executed that you can almost smell the fruit.  I find that the metaphorical resonance of the succulent pears verges on codifying how accessible her work is.  The pear is neither the object of objecthood, nor  the art-object.  It is rather the oblique object of her intentions.  She is an advocate of the Erotic Fruit aesthetic and the colorful representation of the sexy pears which threatens to penetrate caverns, explores the realms of chaos and heartbreak.

However, Madam Butka omitted one important element in her painting:  the feline element.  Her painting suffers from the lack of the puss theme which permeates our world, our lives, yea, even our senses and centers on an interest in the universality of our biological landscape.  She needs to catify her painting.   (Yes, “catify” is a word I invented.  If BillyBoy Shakespeare can invent words, then TeddyBoy Sinclair can also invent words.)  Perhaps just a cat paw that extends into the bowl of pears; or the tip of a tail that slaps the side of the bowl.

Dr. Brenda Butka has had a long career as a people veterinarian practicing as a pulmonary specialist at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.  Not only is she an accomplished artist (although she needs to learn how to include the feline element in her paintings), but she is also a poet.  Her musings have been published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the Annals of Internal Medicine, Threepenny Review, Florida Review, Slant, Cortland Review, and many other human poetry rags.

She currently lives somewhere in the Tennessee wilderness, whittling pencils to write poetry, and mixing pigments for her paintings.  She obtains her brushes from the feathers of a local chicken flock.