This past Sunday, we had a delightful storytime all about cats. I am an unabashed cat lover, so I was glad when one of our young patrons requested cat-themed stories. In my quest for the most fun picture books about domestic cats (because if you start looking into books about big cats, it’s harder to pick a favourite), I discovered a gem: Mrs. Crump’s Cat by Linda Smith.
Cranky Mrs. Crump did not want a cat, so when she finds a cat on her doorstep, dripping wet and looking quite pathetic, she is a little put out. She tries to leave the cat on the porch, but the cat manages to get into the house (through a door mysteriously left open), so she decides to let the cat dry off. When it’s no longer wet, Mrs. Crump will send it on its way. But once it’s dry, Mrs. Crump realizes that it is probably hungry, so she decides to go to town to get the cat something to eat. After the cat is fed, she thinks, she will send it on its way. Except, once the cat has had a nice meal, Mrs. Crump looks out at the clear night sky and realizes that it will most certainly rain, and there is no point putting out a dry cat only to have it come back in the morning, wet again.
An astute reader will realize that Mrs. Crump has no intention of sending that cat on its way. As the story progresses, Mrs. Crump keeps finding reasons why the cat should not be put out until she finally decides to keep it. It’s quite a delightful story, with one of the cutest cats I have ever seen (courtesy of illustrator David Roberts). This is the “sneaky, finicky, troublesome, WET, yellow cat” that Mrs. Crump finds on her porch:
This cat is ridiculously adorable, and each image that David Roberts creates of it is more winning than the last. The story has a really nice build and flow, so it was a fun one to use in storytime, but because of the great details in the images, it’s also really suited to share one-on-one.
If you have a cat, this book will make you want to take a page from Mrs. Crump’s book and sit by a fire with the cat on your lap; if you don’t, you may find yourself checking your front porch, just in case.