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Clever Cat

Clever Cat

3.6 3
by Peter Collington

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Peter Collington, recognized master of wordless picture books, proves in this funny feline fantasy that he is just as entertaining with words and pictures.

Tibs, the orange tabby hero of Clever Cat, knows that being the cat of a busy working family means patiently waiting around a lot—to be let out, to be let in, to be fed. So one day Tibs takes


Peter Collington, recognized master of wordless picture books, proves in this funny feline fantasy that he is just as entertaining with words and pictures.

Tibs, the orange tabby hero of Clever Cat, knows that being the cat of a busy working family means patiently waiting around a lot—to be let out, to be let in, to be fed. So one day Tibs takes matters into his own paws. To the amazement of his family, he opens up a can of cat food and serves himself. Soon he's a cat about town, with a set of house keys to come and go as he pleases and the use of Mrs. Ford's bank card to buy his own food—and a few other things that tickle his fancy. He regards the other kitties in the neighborhood, snoozing in the sun
all day, and thinks, What a bore! But when Mrs. Ford's monthly bank statement arrives, suddenly this clever cat must earn his keep, and Tibs begins to wonder if he's too smart for his own good.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Best known for his wordless picture books, Collington (The Angel and the Soldier Boy; The Tooth Fairy) adds a clipped, comical narrative to his meticulously detailed art in this wry volume starring a family cat. One morning, Mrs. Ford finds her pet Tibs a bother and wishes aloud that he could feed himself. Fed up with not being fed, Tibs takes her suggestion to heart and a transformation results. Collington shows him as he rises onto his hind legs, reaches into the cupboard, opens his own can of food and proceeds to eat with a spoon. The Fords proclaim him "a clever cat" and hand him a house key and ATM card so he can buy his own food, too. Tibs's cleverness seems to know no bounds. He dines at an outdoor caf , shops at a toy store and relaxes in a movie theater. But his carefree lifestyle comes to a halt when the Fords announce that he must find a job to earn his keep. Tibs tries hard to make ends meet but his work suffers and he is fired. The artist creates empathy for the furry fellow throughout his aping of a human existence--with expressions to match--and perfectly captures feline behavior when the hero returns to a cat's life. Collington's droll pictures of this enterprising animal engaged in activities normally reserved for humans will elicit Cheshire grins from readers young and old. All ages. (Aug.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
No cat lover will be surprised at the amazing accomplishments of Tibs. When his family is just too busy to care for him, he begins to manage his own life—opening his cans of cat food, using the family cash card to do the shopping, finally dining out and enjoying the movies. The family decides he must earn what he spends, which he finds no fun at all. Tibs is too smart for that. He is soon back to snoozing all day while the family works. Detailed, naturalistic, colored drawings depict an urban setting for this modern parable. Some scenes are like stage sets, while much of the action is designed as a series of vignettes on white backgrounds. Somehow we believe in and care about this remarkable feline as we smile at his adventures. 2000, Alfred A. Knopf, $15.95. Ages 4 to 8. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-Tibs waits patiently to be let in and then to be fed while his harried owners scurry about preparing for school and work. One day, tired of waiting, he gets his own food, much to his family's astonishment. His independence escalates as this clever cat is given a house key and a money card; however, so do his expenses as he visits shops, movies, and a caf . Soon his humans repossess their card and demand rent. Tibs finds work at his favorite establishment but discovers the exhausting realities of self-support. He oversleeps and loses his job. The next day finds him waiting once again at the door and at his dish and then snoozing with the neighborhood cats, who finally consider him a clever cat indeed. Tibs's transition from ordinary house cat to enterprising bipedal feline is amusingly captured in small illustrations interspersed with full-page spreads that wryly depict his British family and neighborhood. He appears appropriately awkward as he stands erect but comfortably catlike on all fours and has much more personality and appeal than the humans with whom he interacts. Some of the sly humor is derived from folks bemusedly interacting with this upright feline in their midst. Simple, direct text with lots of brief sentences reinforces the well-paced action. "Patience is a virtue" gets a sardonic twist in this clever and visually arresting tale. Pair it with Susan Meddaugh's Martha Speaks (Houghton, 1992) for a storytime about enterprising pets and their exasperated owners.-Carol Ann Wilson, Westfield Memorial Library, NJ Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Some cats are quicker on the uptake than others. Weary of waiting and waiting for every meal, Tibs at last teaches himself how to open a can of cat food. Thrilled to have one less chore, his busy human gives him a door key and a cash card, putting him in charge of buying the food as well. Though it doesn't take Tibs long to discover the pleasures of eating out—not to mention shopping, movies, and card games—the job he is forced to take to pay the resulting bills leaves him both exhausted and barely able to afford even canned food. Better known for wordless books, Collington (Tooth Fairy, 1995, etc) adds a line or two of tongue-in-cheek commentary beneath each cleanly drawn, formally composed urban scene. Looking lumpish and uncomfortable on two legs, Tibs sees the light at last and drops again to four, sitting in graceful, blank, patient silence at door and dish until his owner grumpily resumes her role as provider. In the final picture, Tibs and the other neighborhood felines are seen sprawled out on a stoop, winking at each other. Clever, indeed. (Picture book. 6-8)

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
8.55(w) x 11.83(h) x 0.37(d)
AD190L (what's this?)
Age Range:
5 - 9 Years

Meet the Author

Peter Collington, winner of the 1994 Bologna Book Fair Honor Award, is the author of The Angel and the Soldier Boy, On Christmas Eve, and A Small Miracle.

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Clever Cat 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The moral lesson behind this book it horrible. It basically teaches children that true cleverness comes when you figure out how to do the least amount of work as possible and that showing your true potential will just create hassles for you. And the worst part is that it delivers this message in a cute story about a cute cat with great illustrations.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is very funny, and has funny pictures too.This is a must read book and cat lovers will love it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this book! This is the perfect book for a child or a grown-up cat lover! The illustrations of Tibs are humorous and outstanding. I have a copy for my coffee table and everybody who picks it up can't put it down!