Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Cat of a Different Color (MG)

A Cat of a Different Color. Steven Bauer. Illustrated by Tim Raglin. 2000. Random House. 200 pages.

In a village near a silver lake, at the bottom of a range of jagged mountains, three kittens were born in the same litter. Two of them were common enough. They had wide, astonished, watery blue eyes, and gray coats stippled with black, and paws as white as if they'd been dipped in heavy cream, and when the kittens were ten weeks old, those villagers who wanted a pet came round to the house where the kittens had been born and these two were quickly chosen.
Their names were Flumadiddle and Gigamaree, and until they grew to be a year old, they looked so very much alike that sometimes Mr. Mayapple, the man who chose poor Gigamaree, would call, "There you are, you worthless welp!" when he saw Flumadiddle. And sometimes Miss Gagney, who fussed and fiddled over Flumadiddle's feelings, for it was her brother Gigamaree who stalked the streets, while Flumadiddle was a close-to-the-fireside cat, and she knew it was Gigamaree whom Miss Gagney had seen. 
But from the start no one mistook the third cat for anyone but himself. He had fur that seemed to shift in hue in the slightest breeze--fur the color of burning leaves, then fur the color of smoke. His eyes were the palest amber, and the hair on his belly was as whorled as the shapes the villagers' breath made on winter mornings. When he was still a tiny kitten, he'd fallen from a footstool into a large bucket of water, and rather than panicking, he'd seemed quite content to be soaked clear through--which was very odd, for most cats hate even the thought of getting wet. The villagers called him the-cat-who-loves-water, or, in the dialect of that part of the country, Ulwazzer, and because he was so strange, so unlike any cat that anyone had ever seen before, no one would take him home. He was preternaturally calm, they said, and probably possessed, and who wanted a cat who might raise the hair on your neck by yowling in the dark, who might turn on you when least expected, or leap on your face in the night?

I loved this one. I just LOVED, LOVED, LOVED it. It may not be an 'important' book, an 'issue' book, but oh the joy this one brought me!!! It was so charming, so delightful, so funny. It was just the right amount of description too.

A Cat of a Different Color is set in the village of Felicity-by-the-Lake. It is the story of what happens when the town foolishly elects the wrong leader for the job of town mayor. Instead of the most qualified man getting the job, they elect the one who flatters them the most and gives away the tastiest treats. The new mayor is Jeremiah Hoytie. And he's got a wife, Prucilla, and a son, Sam. The couple also has a young distant relation staying with them, Daria Smart. It doesn't take him long for him to start making proclamations and decrees, changing all the rules and lying about it. Some of these proclamations are just over-the-top silly. I don't think I'll ever, ever forget this one:
Proclamation the Fourth: From this day forward, anything which does not belong to you belongs to Prucilla and Jeremiah Hoytie. (116)
The people are not happy about the changes, the new rules, but they're scared to protest, perhaps with good reason. (Who wants to be carried upside down through the town and made to pay a fine?) Fortunately for the town, Ulwazzer, the cat, returns from his roaming...and with a little (human) help is able to save the day...

Read A Cat of a Different Color
  • If you love cats
  • If you love animal fantasies
  • If you love fantasy novels for children
  • If you like funny books (and cats)

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

1 comments:

Susan 10:24 AM  

I have to get this one for my daughter! She loves cats (we have two of them)....in fact all small creatures. This one though I think she'd like, since one of our cats steals her stuffed toys and drags them around the house. :-)

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