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Cat: Or, How I Lost Eternity

Overview

Every day, eight-year-old Christine’s walk to school takes her past a talking alley cat. Christine stops and feels its warm head beneath her hand, and the cat’s insights invariably give her something to ponder. One day her teacher asks her why she’s always late for school. Frightened, she reveals her secret. Her punishment: she must write 200 lines stating repeatedly, “There are no talking cats, and from now on I will arrive at school on time.” However, the cat is real, no matter how many lines Christine writes.....

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Overview

Every day, eight-year-old Christine’s walk to school takes her past a talking alley cat. Christine stops and feels its warm head beneath her hand, and the cat’s insights invariably give her something to ponder. One day her teacher asks her why she’s always late for school. Frightened, she reveals her secret. Her punishment: she must write 200 lines stating repeatedly, “There are no talking cats, and from now on I will arrive at school on time.” However, the cat is real, no matter how many lines Christine writes.. . .and she might just as well leave out the “no” — the headmaster won’t even notice, says the clever cat. That’s what the cat always says — that life is all about being clever and looking out for yourself, first and foremost. Christine isn’t so sure, and she is a little scared of the cat, too. There must be more to life than self-interest, surely? Beautiful illustrations by Rotraut Susanne Berner and thoughtful, vivid prose by Jutta Richter, winner of the German Youth Literature Award and the Hermann Hesse Prize, bring Christine and the talking cat to life in this award-winning book.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Anita Barnes Lowen
This year Christine is always late for school. But when she swears it is the fault of the white cat, no one believes her. The cat lives in the sunlight on a wall next to the gate that Christine passes through on her way to school. And Christine always stops to pet and to talk with the old cat who has her own subversive ideas about life. One morning Christine's frustrated teacher has had enough and sends Christine to the principal's office. "Can you explain to me why you are always late?" he demands. Christine tells the truth; it is the cat. The principal does not believe her; her punishment for lying is to write "There are no talking cats and in the future I will come to class on time." The cat warns her. "Once you've written it two hundred times, you'll believe it." But Christine has a solution. This is a simply written tale that is deceptively complex; it is a thought-provoking fable that will leave readers asking questions and discovering that they, like Christine, may not find any easy answers. Illustrated with austere black-and-white drawings that divide the book into ten short chapters, this book is an excellent choice for middle school and high school libraries.
School Library Journal

Gr 5-8- Eight-year-old Christine is late for school every day because she is stopped by a white alley cat that insists on talking to her. They discuss math and loneliness and eternity. While at first Christine feels an affinity with the cat, it later repulses her. The conversations eventually come to an end once Christine stops believing that the feline has anything wise or useful to say to her. It acts the role of The Serpent, trying to lure the Eve-like Christine into doing and being what she knows is not right. There is even a discussion about the Tree of Knowledge and Original Sin at the end to hammer home the point. There is an abundance of unpleasant food imagery (starting with the fish smell that the cat leaves on Christine's hand whenever she touches it), male characters who are either incompetent or unfeeling, and an eclipse that represents the end of the world. It is hard to imagine a broad audience for this book.-Kara Schaff Dean, Walpole Public Library, MA

Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781571316769
  • Publisher: Milkweed Editions
  • Publication date: 4/28/2008
  • Edition description: Translatio
  • Pages: 63
  • Sales rank: 1,025,514
  • Age range: 7 - 11 Years
  • Lexile: 720L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.04 (w) x 8.37 (h) x 0.41 (d)

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