August 25th, 2006

Fringe, contemplative, swing

Poetry Friday: A Door Just Opened on a Street by Emily Dickinson

A Door just opened on a street -
I - lost - was passing by -
An instant's Width of Warmth disclosed -
And Wealth - and Company.

The Door as instant shut - And I -
I - lost - was passing by -
Lost doubly - but by contrast - most -
Informing - misery -

- by Emily Dickinson

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Favorite Fictional Felines

This article is featured in this month's issue of The Edge of the Forest.

I have always loved seeing well-written cats in literature because I have had cats all of my life. I wouldn't say that I was a cat owner, though, since they appear to own me. They know that they have me wrapped around their little paws.

No wonder some of my favorite fictional characters are feline.

Memorable cats from books for ages 8 and up include:

I was a huge fan of The Baby-Sitters Club. One of the main characters, Mary Anne Spier, had an adorable kitten named Tigger. He never got the spotlight, however; he was little more than a cameo kitty.

Mouse, the cat in the Judy Moody series by Megan McDonald, gets more face time than Tigger. Mouse is key in the second book, Judy Moody Gets Famous, showing off toaster skills in the pet contest. Mouse is also adorable, as shown in the illustrations by Peter Reynolds.

One of the boldest fictional felines is a very special black cat in Coraline by Neil Gaiman. His namelessness is explained purrfectly: cats know who they are, so they don't need names, unlike easily confused and self-conscious humans. The scenes in which the cat can speak English and thus effortlessly communicate with Coraline are among my favorites.

Another supernatural story with a scene-stealing cat is May Bird and the Ever After by Jodi Lynn Anderson. Somber Kitty is hairless and fearless. He is incredibly loyal to May, and even says her name as best he can: "Meeeeay?" There are three books in the May Bird series, and Somber Kitty appears in all three. Though the trilogy is a fantasy, Somber Kitty never gets special powers or becomes a mega-super-cat. In my estimation, that makes him all the more memorable and brave. (But the last book...the sadness!)

And finally, if I had a nickel for every time I read The Dancing Cats of Applesap by Janet Taylor Lisle, I would be rich. However, I don't want to be rich; I just want to be happy. This book makes me happy. A little girl named Melba befriends the cats and tries to figure out a way to save her small town's drug store, where all of the critters live - and dance.

For more titles, try my Cats Cats Cats booklist.