Home School Book Review, July 13, 2012 (view all comments by Home School Book Review)
Once upon a time there was a very old man and a very old woman who were unhappy because they were very lonely. The old woman decided that they needed a cat, so the old man set out to find one. Finally, he came to a hill which was covered with “Cats here, cats there, cats and kittens everywhere, hundreds of cats, thousands of cats, millions and billions and trillions of cats.” He never could decide which one to choose, so he brought them all home. However, the old woman knew that they could never feed them all, so they determine to keep only the prettiest one. But how will they decide which one is prettiest? And what will happen to all the others?
This enchanting tale was a recipient of the 1929 Newbery Honor Book Award. It has been said that it is a wonderful story of vanity versus humility. Gag's simple yet appealing black ink drawings are perfect illustrations of the plot and are able to capture the idea of millions of cats on a single page. We are a cat-loving family, and our experience confirms the nature of cats as described by Gag. By modern standards, it is basically a picture book. In fact, many children's literature historians consider Millions of Cats to be the origin of the modern picture book. The Caldecott Medal was created in the late 1930's, in part to recognize books such as this.
A couple of reviewers did not like it because the million cats eat each other in a battle over who is the prettiest and because it raised too many questions about why all the cats were fighting and what happened to the other cats. Actually, the old man and woman just assumed that the cats must have eaten each other. They could have fought and then just run away. On the other hand, most people who have reviewed the book said that they enjoyed it. Other books by Gag include The ABC Bunny, also a Newbery Honor winner (1934); The Funny Thing; Gone Is Gone: or the Story of a Man Who Wanted to Do Housework; and Snippy And Snappy. For those who are interested in further information, there is also a biography, Wanda Gag: The Girl Who Lived to Draw, by Deborah Kogan Ray.
lbelle1618, November 23, 2010 (view all comments by lbelle1618)
When I was a little girl I couldn't go to sleep unless my older sister read me this book every night. If she complained I would tell on her....I never tired of the book and have been looking for it off and on these many years.
'Wanda Gg\'s enchanting tale of the very old man who went off in search of the prettiest cat in the world for his wife and returned instead with millions to choose from has become an American classic, widely recognized as the first modern picture book. First published in 1928, it was a recipient of the 1929 Newbery Honor Book Award and has gone on to sell over a million copies. With its charming illustrations and rhythmic, sing-song refrain, Millions of Cats remains as beloved today as it was when it first appeared three-quarters of a century ago.'
How an old couple came to have just one cat to call their own is a classic tale that has been loved for generations. A Newbery Honor Book. Illustrations.
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