IF NOT FOR THE CALICO CAT by Mary Blount Christian


Age Range: 3 - 7
Email this review


“Many years ago, sailors believed that a calico cat aboard their sailing ships meant calm seas and safe ports. Perhaps some were, but others. . . . ” The crew of The Jade Lotus refuses to sail without a calico cat. Young Hiro, the cabin boy, finds one and tricks it aboard with a tasty fish. The cat, unhappy with her situation, only wants to find a comfy place to sleep. A nap in the cook’s flour results in paw prints on the captain’s map, which the captain then thinks are islands. She bats at a rope and turns the sails. She leaps on the milk cow’s back and starts a chain reaction that wrecks the ship; another ship rescues the crew. While the Captain bemoans his losses, Hiro says, “ . . . just think what might have happened if not for the calico cat.” Here is a nice marriage of subtle irony and slapstick Rube Goldberg–like fun for older picture-book audiences. Serra’s intricate cartoon illustrations are an excellent match. Worth a berth in most public libraries. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: April 1st, 2007
ISBN: 0-525-47779-9
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2007