Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Circle of Cats (Newford)” as Want to Read:
A Circle of Cats (Newford)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Circle of Cats (Newford)

4.21  ·  Rating Details ·  562 Ratings  ·  37 Reviews
Lillian is an orphan who lives with her aunt on a homestead miles from anyone, surrounded by uncharted forest. She wanders the woods, chasing squirrels and rabbits and climbing trees. Free-spirited and independent Lillian is a kindred spirit to the many wild cats who gather around the ancient beech tree. One day, while she is under the beech, Lillian is bitten by a poisono ...more
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published June 23rd 2003 by Viking Juvenile (first published June 16th 2003)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Circle of Cats, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Melanti Somewhat.

The Cats of Tanglewood Forest is a greatly expanded version of Circle of Cats.

Per Vess, the plots/illustrations were re-used but The Cats of…more

The Cats of Tanglewood Forest is a greatly expanded version of Circle of Cats.

Per Vess, the plots/illustrations were re-used but The Cats of Tanglewood Forest has 40,000 additional words and 57 new illustrations.


Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Mar 12, 2014 Stacey rated it it was amazing
A wonderful, sweet fairy-tale of a book, beautifully illustrated. I've been reading the expanded version - The Cats of Tanglewood Forest - which is even better, if that's possible, with more story and many more of Charles Vess' gorgeous illustrations. Circle of Cats is long out of print, but if you've got kids of a fairy-tale reading age and you're looking for a satisfying little story, you can't go wrong.
Dec 09, 2008 Grace rated it really liked it
This is certainly a de Lint book geared toward the younger set, but I could tell while reading it that I would have loved it when I was a little girl. Charles Vess' illustrations make it surprise there. :)
Sue Smith
Jan 18, 2012 Sue Smith rated it really liked it
I've been wanting to read something by Charles de Lint for some time, and what better book that one that is paired with the artistic genius of Charles Vess. This probably isn't his best book - so I'll have to read on and do afew more before I put out a firm decision on his writing - but all in all it wasn't a bad book either. The illustrations certainly helped make the story more magical, or at least made the words seem more so. Especially since the message is of magic anyways.

It's a simple stor
Sep 22, 2011 Alice rated it it was amazing
This is a picture book intended for kids older than 8. However, like many other illustrated classics, I can see parents picking this up because they enjoy it. The illustrations, done by Charles Vess, are rich, colorful, and each a small masterpiece. The story is engaging, though not too complex for a child to follow.

A Circle of Cats is about a girl names Lillian who leaves food for various wild creatures, from stray cats to the mythological man who lives in the twisty apple tree. She falls aslee
Nora Peevy
Jan 13, 2012 Nora Peevy rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
A Circle of Cats is a quick, delightful read for adults. The book is intended for 8 years and older. Illustrated by the enchanting Charles Vess and written by Charles de Lint, the story follows the tale of Lillian, an orphan who enjoys playing in the forest. Lillian is bitten by a venomous snake one day and falls asleep under the ancient beech tree where cats go to dream. The cats take pity on her and save her life by making her one of them, but Lillian longs to be a little girl again so she can ...more
Oct 12, 2012 Kyle rated it liked it
A nice fairy tale story suitable for young children who seek a thrill from a fantastic adventure. The story is about a head-strong girl who has an accident and is saved when she is turned into a kitten by a magical bunch of cats. It's a very short story, ideal as a read-to-me for young children. The artwork is both mysterious and soothing at the same time. In a way, the story reminds me a bit of the animated film My Neighbour Totoro, for its theme of magical innocence. I wish there was a big-kid ...more
Erin Reilly-Sanders
Sep 02, 2010 Erin Reilly-Sanders rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, picturebook
I liked this one a lot better than Vess's works with Neil Gaiman. The story had a nice rolling feel that went well with the illustrations. The larger quantity of words also seemed to help Vess be more selective about where his pictures went and how they were formatted. It has a nice dark brooding quality with some adorably fuzzy cats. My only problem was the occaisonally the heroine girl sometimes just looked funny or that the style of the illustrations didn't seem consistent.
Mar 16, 2013 Mitchell rated it really liked it
I started this a long long time ago. But it was basically the same story I had read relatively recently but in a simpler form. And that was distracting and made it hard to focus and I put this book down. Now 37 renewals later, I finally got back to the book. Beautiful but simple art, well written text of a good length. Basically a modern fairytale of a young girl who gets saved from a snake-bite by being turned into a kitten for awhile.
Feb 17, 2013 Darren rated it really liked it
I don't know whether this is just an excerpt from The Cats of Tanglewood Forest, or this short story became that. I suspect the former. It's a fun short story, beautifully illustrated by Charles Vess. It feels like it should be longer, but I always feel that way with illustrated books.
Mar 19, 2015 Elisabeth rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids, fantasy, 2015
I read The Cats of Tanglewood before I read A Circle of Cats and I wish I'd done it the other way around. The Cats of Tanglewood is certainly a more fleshed-out version of this book, but it felt over-indulgent on the author's part, and rambled on when it needn't have. A Circle of Cats is much more cohesive and enjoyable. The story is lovely and charming beginning to end.
Mike Aragona
Mar 23, 2011 Mike Aragona rated it it was amazing
Shelves: all
What a beautiful fairy tale![return][return]The power of cats is revealed when a young girl gets bit and poisoned by a snake. They join together to save the girl's life and afterwards many magical secrets are learned and shared as the young girl goes in search of the Father of Cats for help.[return][return]The story is truly wonderful and with Charles Vess' loving artwork, it becomes an instant classic that I passed onto my daughter the minute I finished the last page.
Deborah Darsie
Aug 06, 2012 Deborah Darsie rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone with young kids who like to be read to or are learning to read
I enjoyed the interaction between mystical characters of Apple Tree Man and the Father of Cats with young Lillian.

This is a very sweet story with a good message or two.
- Doing something nice for others without expecting anything in return.
- Power is available but should not be abused or overused.

Definitely a worthy addition to a library - personal or public.
Nov 02, 2012 Paul rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed, novels
Yes, I admit, I'm more of a Charles Vess fan than a Charles de Lint one. I will go out of my way to buy a book with Vess' illustrations, whereas I've hardly read any of DeLint's works.

However this was a fun book to read. The story is more aimed towards young(er) children, but I found myself enjoying it even though I'm 5 times older than my ten year old niece :-)
Lillian lives with her aunt in the middle of nowhere by the woods. As she is playing in the woods one day, she is bitten by a snake. Because Lillian has been nice to and fed the cats who live out here, they come to help...

It was a cute book. The illustrations were fabulous, the cats were beautiful. It's a cute, quick read.
4 out of 5 stars I have to agree with the previous reviews of this book. I loved the story and the illustrations. There is great potential for good book discussion regarding the choices the kitten girl has to make to return to her true self. I'll have to try to get Seven Wild Sisters, but at first attempt my library didn't have it.

Feb 01, 2017 Geoff rated it really liked it
An illustrated children's book de Lint did with Charles Vess. It uses the same characters found in the novel "Seven Wild Sisters." So, for me, a lot of the book was familiar territory. This was a nice little children's story, that was fun to read. It was illustrated beautifully by Charles Vess, and really that is the main attraction her: the illustrations. I liked it.
Ingrid Foster
Aug 13, 2012 Ingrid Foster rated it it was amazing
Upon a recommendation from a Facebook friend, I read Circle of Cats by Charles de Lint (illustrated by Charles Vess.) I'm so glad I did!

This is a wonderful, heart warming children's picture book about an imaginative twelve year girl and all the wonder she finds living at the edge of a wilderness. This story is truly a fantasy fest for children and adults alike.
May 22, 2011 Terri rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, children-s
A young girl loves the forest. She sleeps one day at the base of a giant tree where she is bitten by a snake. In order to save her life, the cats of the forest work their magic to transform her. Only she wants to be a girl again and searches for help to make it happen. A charming story with the forest magical beings and beautifully illustrated by Charles Vess.
Sep 04, 2009 DeAnne rated it it was amazing
Shelves: boy, classics, fantasy
This book combines one of the leading living folklorists with one of the top living artists/illustrators...a children's book experience that crosses all generations. It is gorgeous and touching and wonderful.
Tessa in Mid-Michigan
Jul 19, 2015 Tessa in Mid-Michigan rated it really liked it
Cute little story--but now I find that it is the same story as The Cats of Tanglewood Forest! This one is 48p., the other 285p. Read this one to your kids, read the other one for yourself. I will wait awhile before reading the longer version...kinda unhappy that nothing said that anywhere.
Much less a Graphic Novel than a sumptuously illustrated short story. The story by Charles de Lint is very good, drawing on many traditional tales and myths. But the real achievement is in the masterful illustrations by Charles Vess.
Mar 05, 2013 MaryAnn rated it really liked it
Whimsical adventure story and great artwork. Looking forward to reading the prequel/sequel? to find out more about the human and mythological characters. Age appeal will vary; probably not for readers with a strictly literal or dogmatic view of the world.

Aug 20, 2008 Julia rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: parents of young children
Recommended to Julia by: I read all de Lint
Shelves: fantasy
Lillian wanders away from her remote home and is bitten by a poisonous snake. But because she has been kind to the cats, they “woke cat magic” and turned her into a cat.

Too slight, too young to have worked it's magic on me.
Nov 03, 2013 Patricia rated it it was amazing
Beautifully illustrated by Charles Vess, this sweet and magical story is for all ages. Such a lovely picture book!
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
I loved this story! Of course, all cat lovers know that cats are magic. Charles Vess' enchanting illustrations were perfect for the story. I must read the sequel, Seven Wild Sisters, now.
Jan 15, 2013 Frieda rated it it was amazing
I liked this book. It was really cute.
Apr 11, 2013 Kim rated it liked it
Disappointing ending.
Catherine Stallings
Jan 30, 2010 Catherine Stallings rated it it was amazing
This is one of those books you'll want to keep, not just for the story, but for the beautiful illustrations.
Charles Vess is an incredible artist.
Apr 04, 2013 Bonnie rated it it was amazing
Wish I would have known about this book when my daughter was younger. Great use of language to create a magical mood.
Apr 11, 2011 Debra rated it really liked it
A prequel to the Seven Sisters it was a nice addition to the series. Although it really wasn't a novel, more of a short story with lovely pictures.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Ill Met in Lakhmar/The Fair in Emain Macha
  • The Book of Ballads
  • The Essential Bordertown (Borderland, #4)
  • The Faeries of Spring Cottage
  • The Dragon in the Library (Dragon Keepers, #3)
  • Something Rich and Strange (Brian Froud's Faerielands, #2)
  • Nevernever (Borderland, #7)
  • The Wizard in the Tree
  • The Sandman: The Story of Sanderson Mansnoozie (Guardians of Childhood, #2)
  • Captain Raptor and the Moon Mystery
  • Finder (Borderland, #8)
  • Black Heart, Ivory Bones
  • Nurk: The Strange, Surprising Adventures of a (Somewhat) Brave Shrew
  • Tell Me a Dragon
  • A Book
  • The Reluctant Dragon
  • The Mayor of Central Park
  • Frankie Works the Night Shift
Charles de Lint is the much beloved author of more than seventy adult, young adult, and children's books. Renowned as one of the trailblazers of the modern fantasy genre, he is the recipient of the World Fantasy, Aurora, Sunburst, and White Pine awards, among others. Modern Library's Top 100 Books of the 20th Century poll, conducted by Random House and voted on by readers, put eight of de Lint's b ...more
More about Charles de Lint...

Other Books in the Series

Newford (1 - 10 of 28 books)
  • Dreams Underfoot (Newford, #1)
  • Memory and Dream (Newford, #2)
  • The Ivory and the Horn (Newford, #3)
  • Trader (Newford, #4)
  • Someplace to Be Flying (Newford, #5)
  • Moonlight and Vines (Newford, #6)
  • Forests of the Heart (Newford, #7)
  • The Onion Girl (Newford, #8)
  • Tapping the Dream Tree (Newford, #9)
  • Spirits in the Wires (Newford, #10)

Share This Book