Madeline Finn and the Library Dog: by Lisa Papp

Madeline Finn and the Library Dog: by Lisa Papp

 

It seems some human children have trouble reading books out loud.   The words sometimes get stuck in their mouth like peanut butter.  Or the human kids stumble and make funny mistakes when they pronounce the words.  So they hate  reading out loud.  Cats, of course never make mistakes when they read out loud, but that’s another story.

In this book, a little girl just can’t seem to get this reading out loud thing down.  Then  one day a librarian makes a dynamite suggestion.  Why not read to a dog, a big fluffy white dog.  Well, by golly, who knew that a dog could help humans read.out loud?  At first, the little girl stumbles over the words, and gets letters mixed up, but Bonnie (that’s the name of the dog) just sits there and listens and never, never criticizes.  Sometimes Bonnie puts her big paw on the little girl’s lap to help her.  Well, guess what?  Next time the little girl reads in the classroom, she does just fine and the teacher gives her a gold star.

Well, I thought I would try out this method too.  You see I have a friend, a dog named Hope, who can’t read out loud either.  So I thought if humans can read to dogs and improve their reading skills, why can’t cats help improve a dog’s reading skills?  Well, let me try and be kind.  Dogs are not the brightest bulbs in the universe. Nope, not at all.   When I gave Hope the book about the Library Dog to read out loud, do you know what she did?  She thought the book was a hat and put it on her head!  I’ve got to remind myself that when it comes to improving dogs’ reading abilities, it is not an easy task!

 

Bethesda Magazine (Almost Famous)

Bethesda Magazine (Almost Famous)

What a way to celebrate the New Year!  At last, the world at large is finally beginning to recognize my worth and wonderfulness.  I made it into a big-time magazine, Bethesda Magazine, in a column appropriately titled, “Almost Famous.”  Well better to be “almost famous,” rather than “not famous.”  The author, a Mr. Jeff Cirillo, mentioned that my caretaker posted “colorful shots” of myself on my very own website. He also mentioned how a few pets in the United States have “struck gold.”  Well I certainly haven’t “struck gold,” yet, but I think it’s only a matter of time.

I only have two beefs with the article.  First off, the author dared to also highlight the antics of two dogs.  In fact, he led the story with shenanigans of a dog named “Hoover.”  Well no one is perfect, so I figure I will have to educate Mr. Cirillo as to the superiority of cats over dogs. (“Cats rule, dogs drool.”)  And secondly, the author only interviewed  my human care taker and had the moxie to highlight her artistic pursuits, calling her a “Kensington-based artist.”  At least the author remarked how handsome I looked in two photos, one in which I’m  playing poker and in the other sipping a martini.  (Of course, he would have to mention that sometimes I’m a “challenge” when it comes to sitting for photos!)

I think next on the list in my path towards fame and fortune, is to have a star named after me (paging Neil Degrasse Tyson), or perhaps a stamp should be issued with my visage, or an island named after me, or yes, perhaps a pretty flower with my name attached.

The Tiger, The Braham, and The Jackal, An Indian Folktale

The Tiger, The Braham, and The Jackal, An Indian Folktale

So a caged tiger, (who is one of my cousins), tricks a Braham (that’s an Indian word, for a holy male human) to let him out of the cage, promising not to eat the Braham. Ha, ha, ha! Tiger is released and attempts to eat the Braham for lunch

However, a clever jackal (that’s a member of the dog family), tricks the tiger into getting back in the cage.

I don’t like this fairy tale, because tiger cats are smarter than jackal dogs. The author obviously doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

But at least, you human folks can learn this: Don’t be easily tricked into believing everything you hear.

Retold by M.J. York

Hansel and Gretel

Hansel and Gretel

I’m sure you’re all familiar with the fairy tale, “Hansel and Gretel.”  Sweet brother and sister are abandonned in the woods because there’s no food in the house, and evil stepmother wants to get rid of them.  They get lost on a dark and dreary night, and all of sudden discover a cottage made of bread, cake, and sugar.  Start stuffing their mouths and out comes an evil witch who captures little boy and tries to fatten him up so she can eat him.  However, drastic change in plans as the sister pushes witch into roaring fire and rescues her brother.  The end, more or less.

Now, if I, TeddyBoy, were a character in the book, here’s how this fairy tale would be written.

Once upon a time there was a poor brother and sister who lived with a loving father,  evil stepmother and a noble tuxedo cat, named TeddyBoy.  TeddyBoy was also starving, but he always made sure that Hansel and Gretel had food, even if it meant having to give them rotten bits and pieces of a dead mouse, he had caught.

But one day, the father and evil step-mother took Hansel, Gretel, and TeddyBoy for a long walk in the woods, and then run off and left them to die of starvation.  But TeddyBoy, the noble protector, led the brother and sister on a secret path to a lovely cottages made of bread, cake, and sugar, where the kids gorged themselves.  And then TeddyBoy promptly took a nap. (Well, cats have nap a lot.)  While he napped, a wicked witch who liked to cook and eat little boys and girls, came up and snatched Hansel up and put him in a cage…to fatten him up.  But TeddyBoy came to the rescue.  He used his paws to unlock the cage to free the brother who promptly ran under the bed and hid.  He then attacked the wicked witch, scratched out her eyes, and pushed her into a pot of boiling water.

TeddyBoy led them to a secret stash of gems and Hansel and Gretel filled up their pockets (and even made TeddyBoy a collar out of the gems) and all three marched back home.  And everyone lived happily ever after, because TeddyBoy was such a brave and noble cat who had saved their lives!

by the Brothers Grimm, illustrations:  Syville Schenker

Puss In Boots, by Charles Perrault

Puss In Boots, by Charles Perrault

An orphaned lad inherits a cat, and the two of them share a series of adventures, or rather misadventures. Puss In Boots regularly rescues the clueless human as he staggers from mishap to misadventure.

Lose your clothes while swimming in the river? Puss In Boots fetches some fancy royal clothes to dress the lad. Feeling lonely? Puss In Boots arranges circumstances so that a pretty princess falls in love with the lad. Living in a broken down hut? Puss In Boots obtains a castle for the lad and his princess. The saga continues, but this reviewer wouldn’t want to bore you with an endless number of rescues.

I think we can learn only one lesson from this book: Humans could not survive without cats!

The Sleepy Little Lion

The Sleepy Little Lion

By Margaret Wise Brown, Photographs, Ylla

Great to read a story about one my cousins, the Lion.  Seems a baby lion decided to run away from his mom at the local zoo.  And his adventures began as he explored the world outside the zoo.

He discovered dogs and promptly started yawning and fell asleep.  He ran into a Siamese cat who hissed at him, and he fell asleep.  He discovered a human brother and sister, but oh dear, he got sleepy again so the human sister laid him in a basket for his nap.

And then the sleepy little lion ran into a kitten who purred him a lullaby and….he fell asleep again. This is great book, because it highlights one of the feline’s favorite activities:  napping.  A world without naps is not a world worth living in!

Perhaps you should go asleep at bedtime too, just like the sleepy little lion.

(Looks like I’m sleepy, as my eyes are beginning to close in this photo!)