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CAT UP A TREE by John Hassett


by & & illustrated by &

Age Range: 5 - 7

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-395-88415-2
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

The Hassetts (Charles of the Wild, 1997, etc.) skewer unhelpful neighbors and public servants with this pointed and witty picture book. When Nana Quimby sees a cat up a tree outside her window, she calls the fire house. They tell her “Sorry,” that they don’t rescue cats anymore, but that she may call back should the cat start playing with matches. The next time Nana looks, there are five cats, then ten, then fifteen, and so on, but “Sorry” is all she hears from the police, pet shop, zoo, library, post office, and City Hall. As the cats, now numbering 40, settle in to live with Nana, City Hall calls back, begging for help with a surprising new mouse problem. “Sorry,” Nana purrs, “the cats do not catch mice any more.” In sly illustrations, small, sinuous felines with gracefully expressive tails pose against leafy backgrounds, or in the final scene, are strewn cozily about Nana Quimby’s retro kitchen like calligraphed curlicues. Children won’t be able to resist the temptation to count them, and few will quibble with the notion that when it comes to cat-and-mouse, turnabout is fair play. (Picture book. 5-7)