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Dick Whittington and His Cat
     

Dick Whittington and His Cat

by Margaret Hodges, Melisande Potter (Illustrator)
 

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Hodges brings to life the legend that has grown up around the actual character of Dick Whittington. The poor boy, working hard in a London house and mistreated by the cook, cannot sleep because of the rats and mice in his attic room. Tabby, the cat he acquires to chase them away, is all he has to send on his master's ship for trading abroad. Discouraged by his life, he leaves London, but seems to hear the church bells calling him back. Meanwhile, arriving at a port, Tabby has rid a king's palace of rats and mice and has been paid for with a treasure, making Dick a rich man for his trade. Thus begins his road to success, ending as the bells predicted, Lord Mayor of London. Although not in a specific style, Potter sets her ink and gouache scenes in a manner suggesting an unsophisticated creator. She includes many details of houses, castle turrets, church facades, cobbled streets, and people in clothes of another era. The visual narrative is easy to follow, offering a light-hearted sense to even the more dramatic scenes. The characters seem to be in make-up with exaggerated features, like actors in a play. The lively telling has broad appeal. Background factual information is included. 2006, Holiday House, Ages 5 to 9.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-In this spare retelling of the British legend, the narrative keeps buoyant with droll dialogue. The humorous illustrations, created with colorful inks and gouache, enhance the story with expressive faces and movement that delight the eye: a person wearing a mask and teetering on stilts, a dog nipping at the feet of an agitated juggler, a young girl dancing with a tambourine. Period detail includes short tunics, long cloaks, pointed shoes, timber-framed houses, thatched roofs, and mullion windows. The dramatically posed landscapes and people are energized by some wavy and slightly distorted perspectives: a man staring out a window, his head at a seemingly impossible angle, and an enlarged cat's head emerging at the end of Dick's bed to view some fleeing mice. However, some of the split-screen illustrations are less effective because they blend into one another in a busy, confused whole. Marcia Brown's classic retelling of the story (Scribner's, 1950) sets a high standard; nevertheless, Hodges's sprightly retelling is a worthy addition to Dick Whittington lore.-Kirsten Cutler, Sonoma Library, CA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The legendary Lord Mayor of London's story is here resurrected for a picture-book audience, the straightforward retelling receiving dramatic treatment. Dick Whittington is a resolute boy, alone in the world but determined to make something of himself, even to the point of giving up his beloved cat when it is his only thing to offer in trade when his master's ship sails for Barbary. Hodges makes the most of the classic underdog-against-bully relationship Dick endures with his master's cook, and when he shares his eventual riches with her, readers will cheer his good-heartedness. Equally well-established is the basis for Dick's good deeds as Lord Mayor, his direct observations of London's squalor as a boy leading him to ameliorate it as a man. The bells of Bow Church provide aural punctuation to the story, complementing Potter's stylized ink-and-gouache illustrations, which present a series of tableaux, in the manner of a theatrical pageant. Dick wears his emotions on his sleeve, his despair at losing his cat writ just as large as his satisfaction at his ultimate success. An author's note rounds out this happy foray into legend. (Picture book/folklore. 5-8)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780823419876
Publisher:
Holiday House, Inc.
Publication date:
04/28/2006
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
10.10(w) x 10.30(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile:
AD870L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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