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Purrfectly Purrfect: Life at the Acatemy

Purrfectly Purrfect: Life at the Acatemy

by Patricia Lauber
Is your cat the smartest feline on the block?

Or, does he hiss at his scratching post and knock over his water bowl? Maybe you should send him to the Acatemy, where cats of all sorts learn how to be purrfectly purrfect!

Among their lessons, these sharp cats discover Kitty Hawk and Connecticat in geography class. And recess is never boring with paw-racing,


Is your cat the smartest feline on the block?

Or, does he hiss at his scratching post and knock over his water bowl? Maybe you should send him to the Acatemy, where cats of all sorts learn how to be purrfectly purrfect!

Among their lessons, these sharp cats discover Kitty Hawk and Connecticat in geography class. And recess is never boring with paw-racing, tail-chasing games like mewsical chairs!

All of the students purrform purrfectly, except, Dudley. He is a kitten—much too young for the Acatemy. Will he ruin the head's purrfect record of having all purrfect graducats? Catlovers, punsters, and fans of great humor will have a purrfectly purrfect time finding out!

Editorial Reviews

Bulletin of the Center for Children' s Books
...cat lovers of all ages will find plenty of cat puns to sink their teeth into...
Children's Literature
Where exactly do cats learn to laze in a sunny spot, hide small objects and claw up the furniture? Why at the Acatemy, of course. The Acatemy is a unique school where young feline pupils learn how to be "purrfectly purrfect." With such courses as geography (where students learn about the Catskills, Kitty Hawk and Connecticat) and Mewsic class, these pupils are well tutored in the importance of the feline. However, this year's class has a problem—Bo and Tiffany's younger brother Dudley, who is much too young for the Acatemy, tags along to class each day. Though the principal and purrfessor do their best to keep Dudley from school, he continues to come. In the end, they devise a way for Dudley's fun-loving antics to contribute positively to the class. With clever puns and plays on words, this short chapter book will tickle the funny bones of cat-lovers. The cartoon-like illustrations blend nicely with the "cat"chy text. However, the story line rambles a bit and is, at times, difficult to follow. Perhaps the book works best as a humorous introduction to the way one can play with the English language. 2000, HarperTrophy/HarperCollins, $4.95. Ages 8 to 12. Reviewer: Leah Hanson AGES: 8 9 10 11 12
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-This slight, witty, amusingly illustrated story is one giant pun about cats. "The Acatemy" is a finishing school where young cats learn to be "purrfect," studying a "purriculum" of courses such as "Cats in Nature," "Cats in Geography," and "Mewsic," while writing purrsonal essays and exploring other purrsuits. The story follows Bo, Tiffany, and Dudley as they enter the Acatemy for their month of studies. The head allows Dudley to stay the first day, but sends him home with a note explaining that he cannot return until he is eight months old. However, much to the head's chagrin, Dudley returns daily, following the other cats right up until Graducation Day where he wins an award for attaining a purrfect zero in all of his classes. Youngsters will enjoy the silliness of the story, seemingly an excuse for playful language. Lewin's charming black-and-white line drawings are delightfully humorous and lend whimsy to an already whimsical piece of writing. Stretching the metaphor to tedium and beyond, it would not be a catastrophe if this book was not added to library collections, but its purrfect goofiness might appeal to reluctant readers and feline fanciers.-Alice Casey Smith, Sayreville Public Schools, Parlin, NJ Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Anyone fond of cats and puns will be amewsed by this visit to The Acatemy, pet project of Purrfessor F. Catus of the University of Catifornia, where a purrfect graduation record stands in danger of being spoiled by Dudley, a small kitten who doggedly refuses to stay home. Along with looks at the purriculum ("Cats In History"—e.g., Catherine the Great, Catilla the Hun) and the art mewseum, readers get essays from each of the 11 (12, counting Dudley) students on their summer vacations and career plans, plus a multiple choice final in Eticat: "You are thirsty. Where is the last place you should go for water? A) a bowl of flowers, B) the toilet, C) whatever you find soaking in the sink, D) your water bowl." With plenty of vigorous, scrawly sketches, Lewin (Chubbo's Pool, 1996, etc.) depicts the student body purrsuing their educations, then gathering for graduation—even Dudley, who gets a purrfect "0" in every class, and is last seen clutching his diploma in slightly cross-eyed triumph. A cheery bit of fluff from a pair of children's-book veterans. (Fiction. 7-9)

Product Details

HarperCollins Children's Books
Publication date:
Edition description:
1 ED
Product dimensions:
6.44(w) x 9.38(h) x 0.53(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The Acatemy

The Acatemy is a school for cats.

Why, you may wonder, would cats go to school? What might the purrpuss be? After all, as any cat owner knows, cats are born purrfect. But cats are also purrfectionists -- they wish to make sure they are purrfectly purrfect. And that is why they go to school, if their human owners send them.

The Acatemy, of course, has a catalog. It tells you that the school was founded by Purrfessor F. Catus of the University of Catifornia. It is the purrfessor's belief that "the proper study of cats is cats." The Acatemy, he says, is his "pet project."

The catalog describes the purriculum -- Cats in History, Cats in Nature, Cats in Geography, and so on. It tells you that the school color is purrple and ... But school is about to begin. It is the first day for the new class, many of whom are already looking forward to becoming graducats next month.

A Problem Arises

The head stands at the door, checking off the students, who are lined up to enter. Two students and a kitten present themselves. The head looks at her list. "Bo. Tiffany, and Dudley," she says. "Where is Dudley? And who is this kitten?"

The kitten says, "It's me. Dudley."

That is a problem. Dudley is far too young for The Acatemy, But he's also too young to be sent home alone without Bo and Tiffany. The head decides that Dudley can spend this one day at school.

Now it is time for assembly. The head welcome the new class, and everyone joins in singing the school song. The melody just might be "O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree," but it's hard totell:

Acatemy, Acatemy, we, sing with deep emotion,

For you do teach us purrfectly,

So we may ever purrfect be.

Acatemy Acatemy, you have our hearts' devotion.

As the students move on to their first class, the head writes a letter for Bo to take home.

Purrfectly Purrfect. Copyright � by Patricia Lauber. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Patricia Lauber is the author of more than sixty-five books for young readers. Many of them are in the field of science, and their range reflects the diversity of her own interests-bats, dolphins, dogs, volcanoes, earthquakes, the ice ages, the Everglades, the planets, earthworms. Two of her books, SEEDS: POP STICK GLIDE and JOURNEY TO THE PLANETS, were nonfiction nominees for The American Book Awards. She was the 1983 winner of The Washington Post/Children's Book Guild Award for her overall contribution to children's nonfiction literature.

As well as writing books, Ms. Lauber has been editor of Junior Scholastic, editor-in-chief of Science World, and chief editor, science and mathematics, of The New Book of Knowledge

A graduate of Wellesley College, she is married and lives in Connecticut. When not writing, she enjoys hiking, sailing, traveling, cooking, reading, and listening to music.

Betsy Lewin grew up in Clearfield,Pennsylvania. She always loved to draw and can’t remember ever wanting to be anything but an artist. Her mother (a kindergarten teacher) is responsible for her love of children’s books. She read to Betsy and her brother every night: Winnie the Pooh, The Adventures of Babar, Uncle Remus, and all the fairy-tale books. The illustrators Ernest Shepard and A. B. Frost were among her earliest heroes. Later on, when she started illustrating for children, Betsy realized how strongly she’d been influenced by the gentle watercolors of Beatrix Potter and the energetic line and humor of James Stevenson and Quentin Blake.

After graduating from Pratt Institute, where she studied illustration, Betsy took a job as an assistant art director at a greeting-card company in New York, which led to freelance work for several other card companies. Then she began to write and illustrate stories for children’s magazines. When an editor at Dodd, Mead & Company asked her to expand one of those stories into a picture book, Betsy says, “I jumped at the chance. I’ve been doing picture books ever since and loving every moment.”

Betsy’s art is usually humorous, drawn in pen with watercolor washes, as in Is It Far to Zanzibar? But she also paints in a naturalistic style, as in Walk a Green Path, in which she expresses her love for the natural world through paintings and poetry. Gorilla Walk is her first collaboration with her husband, Ted, and is about their trek to see the mountain gorillas in Uganda. They’ve just completed their second collaboration, Elephant Quest, set in the Okavango Delta of Botswana.

When not at work on their books, Ted and Betsy love to travel to exotic places around the world gathering material for new books. At home each of them has a studio in their brownstone house in Brooklyn. Besides the usual clutter of pencils and pens, paint tubes and brushes, drawing paper, and, of course, books, they surround themselves with mementos of their travels: peacock feathers from India, Herero dolls from Botswana, galimoto toys from Namibia and Brazil, brass pots from Egypt, postcards and snapshots.

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