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Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats

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4.09  ·  Rating Details ·  15,954 Ratings  ·  735 Reviews
T. S. Eliot's playful cat poems have delighted readers and cat lovers around the world ever since they were first published in 1939. They were originally composed for his godchildren, with Eliot posing as Old Possum himself, and later inspired the legendary musical Cats.
Hardcover, Illustrated Edition, 56 pages
Published August 30th 1982 by Harcourt Brace & Company (first published 1939)
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Dewey by Vicki MyronThe Cat in the Hat by Dr. SeussOld Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T.S. EliotAlice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis CarrollThe Complete Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson
Great "Cat" Books
3rd out of 1,050 books — 603 voters
The Complete Poems by Emily DickinsonLeaves of Grass by Walt WhitmanShakespeare's Sonnets by William ShakespeareThe Waste Land and Other Poems by T.S. EliotAriel by Sylvia Plath
Best Poetry Books
50th out of 1,719 books — 1,889 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Manny
Sep 24, 2014 Manny rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes cats and poetry
To My New Feline Friend

I know an Abyssinian
her name in French is Silicate

The rest of this review is available elsewhere (the location cannot be given for Goodreads policy reasons)
helen the bookowl
Dec 06, 2014 helen the bookowl rated it really liked it
If you're a cat-lover (as I am), then this is a must-read for you! This is a charming book written in verse, and each chapter is dedicated to a different kind of cat with its own kind of personality. This just goes to show how many personalities a cat can really have and I loved it :)
Teresa
Feb 24, 2016 Teresa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: g-poesia, n-usa, e5
Gosto de poesia; gosto de gatos. Adorei este livro.
Mas, se não gostasse de poesia nem de gatos, de certeza que, mesmo assim, adoraria este livro.
Durante cerca de meia hora, pespegou-se-me um sorriso nos lábios que, periodicamente, desaparecia para ser trocado por uma gargalhada...
Quer os poemas, quer as ilustrações são lindos e divertidos e, embora T. S. Eliot os tivesse escrito para crianças, qualquer adulto se enternecerá com eles.
Um livro que recomendo a quem gosta de gatos e não só...

"Há nes
...more
Coos Burton
Encontré el libro hace muy poco y no lo pensé dos veces, ya se me había escapado en una ocasión y no planeaba que me sucediera otra vez. Se trata de una hermosa colección de poemas sobre gatos con personalidades muy peculiares. Cada texto está acompañado por el lóbrego arte de Edward Gorey, y este fue el empuje que más me impulsó a comprar este libro, ya que es uno de mis artistas favoritos. Y por supuesto, siendo yo una cat lover sentí que no podía perdérmelo. Realmente lo disfruté muchísimo, e ...more
Petergiaquinta
Jun 27, 2013 Petergiaquinta rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
So, I'm really more of a dog guy, and I don't know if that's the reason or if it was the horribly ridiculous musical or what, but despite considering T.S. Eliot as one of my favorite poets during my college days and despite owning a copy of this book for at least fifteen years, I'd never read these poems until today.

I'm curious what motivated Eliot to write these funny and clever little ditties for kitties--the writer feels more like Edward Lear than the elusive, erudite author of "The Hollow Me
...more
Leslie
Jan 03, 2016 Leslie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, nobel-winner
I had always thought of T.S. Eliot as a difficult and gloomy poet, so these poems were a revelation! Such light-hearted fun which really benefits from being read aloud & the Edward Gorey illustrations were marvelous too.
Laurel Hicks
Jun 26, 2016 Laurel Hicks rated it it was amazing
Someone should set this to music.
Kwoomac
This book was on my Recommendations book shelf, I hope because I'm a huge fan of Edward Gorey, not a crazy cat lady. Unfortunately for me, my library didn't have the edition that Gorey illustrated. So, I read this one. Actually, the illustrations were the only thing I enjoyed about the book. I felt like Eliot was trying too hard to be clever with the names and none of them worked for me. Cap'n Wussenfuss, now that would've been a good name but he didn't come up with that name, I did. They have n ...more
Jacqueline
Да ти се прииска да си котка. Целият си достойнство, класа, изящество- идва ти отвътре. Животът ти- или в баронмюнхаузенски стил, или синоним на охолство и домашен лукс. Т.е. никога не е скучно.
Да не говорим пък с каква грация и вкус си го живеят.

Фантастичен T.S. Eliot. Усмихна ме.

description


***
But I tell you, a cat needs a name that's particular,
A name that's peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular,
Or spread out his whiskers, or chеrish his pride?

***
When you notice a c
...more
Davie Bennett
Feb 20, 2008 Davie Bennett rated it really liked it
Little-known fact, this book of children's poetry by T.S. Eliot was the inspiration for the cringe-worthy Broadway musical, "Cats." Many of the poems are the lyrics, verbatim, for the show. But if you, like so many others, are revulsed or terrified by the thought of those cavorting, feline freaks on stage, well, just try and put it out of your mind. These are fun poems for kids, and would make great bedtime reading! Unless you are a dog family, in which case you should probably go with "Clifford ...more
Γιώργος
Μου άρεσε πολύ αυτή η συλλογή από ποιηματάκια, και στο πρωτότυπο και στην, έξοχη, ελληνική μετάφραση. Πολύ όμορφα και παιχνιδιάρικα ποιήματα με πολλές φορές απρόσμενες ομοιοκαταληξίες που προσφέρονται για ανάγνωση φωναχτά και πολύ γέλιο!

Ὁ Σκύλος πάντως ὁ κοινός, ὁ τρέχων, ὁ συνήθης
Εἶναι χαζοχαρούμενος καί ἐλφρῶς εὐήθης
Τόν κάνεις ἀπό ἡδονή καί ἀπό χαρά νά λιώνει
Ἂν τόν χαϊδέψεις μοναχά κάτω ἀπό τό σαγόνι.
[...]
Στίς Γάτες ἕνα τυπικό πρέπει νά ἀκολουθοῦμε
Ἐάν δέν μᾶς μιλήσουνε νά μην τίς ἐνοχλοῦμε
Σα
...more
Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
Aug 21, 2016 Nathan "N.R." Gaddis added it
Recommends it for: Cats
Recommended to Nathan "N.R." by: Cats
[Just like a BUMbersticker:]

Like this Review if you like cats but hate Cats (and can tell the dIFFérance).



the ReVue:
T.S. Elliot poetry about cats.

Edward Gorey drawings about cats.

Cats doing what cats do.

A winning trilogy of characters, that.
Florence Liu
Looking at the reviews of this book, I'm slightly ashamed to say that the only reason I read this collection of poetry was because of a musical. It's not because I wanted to read more of T.S. Eliot's amazing work, it's because I watched Cats. I am an Andrew Lloyd Webber junkie. It all started when I watched The Phantom of the Opera, and things just got worse when I watched cats. That being said, Andrew Lloyd Webber is also responsible for some of the books that are on my to-read list - this bein ...more
Kim
When looking through lists of poetry books trying to decide which to read for my book challenge I knew I couldn't pass this one. Cats the Musical, and this book, are my wifes' favourite and she named my cat after Mr Mistoffelees.

It was an amusing little book with fun, kitty stories though was a touch racist in parts. After reading certain poems I watched YouTube clips of the Cats version and found they never quite fit what I had in my head. The tempo of the poems in the book is quite fast which
...more
Catriona
Feb 27, 2013 Catriona rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: december
This is a whimsical book full of adventure and fun
With cats playing and sleeping and those who even run
I think it was the best book ever, but
I laughed so hard I almost busted a gut!
Nothing is better, not even in the slightest
Read it again? I sure mightest!
With the magic Mr. Mistoffelees, so quiet and sly
Quite the mysterious guy.
Or
* Macavity, Macavity, there’s no one like Macavity
He’s broken human law, he defies the law of gravity*
I recommend this book to you all,
Though the stories are quite tal
...more
Amelia
Jul 31, 2016 Amelia rated it it was amazing
now I just want to watch CATS the musical all over again
Richie
Jun 25, 2016 Richie rated it it was amazing
I mean, it's Cats. Need I say more?
Morgan
Another quick read I found in the house. I liked this, but not as much as I thought I would. I liked parts of T.S. Eliot's Waste Land that I have read, but this seemed too goofy for me to fully like. I'm also not a cat lover, so that could be another reason. And, most of the poems have been ruined by the damn musical. You can't help but sing most of the poems. At least there was a cat named Morgan at the end that saved me from disliking this hairball.
aPriL does feral sometimes
"Before a Cat will condescend
To treat you as a trusted friend,
Some little token of esteem
Is needed, like a dish of cream;
And you might now and then supply
Some caviare, or Strassburg Pie,
Some potted grouse, or salmon paste--
He's sure to have his personal taste.
(I know a Cat, who makes a habit
Of eating nothing else but rabbit,
And when he's finished, licks his paws
So's not to waste the onion sauce.)"

: )

Very cute and pleasant.
Rebecca
May 30, 2009 Rebecca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, faves
T.S. Eliot oughta immortalise my cat. *nods*
*envisions dueling Lloyd Webber for her memory*

Photobucket
Manik Sukoco
Jan 01, 2016 Manik Sukoco rated it really liked it
Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats is a volume of children's poetry first published in 1939. Eliot initially wrote the poems for his god-children, but this is no simplistic children's literature. T.S. Eliot was a master of his craft. The poems are simple stories about a variety of cats, each with a distinct personality and behaviors. The poems have a rhythm all their own and it matches the personality of the cat being described. While a poem about Bustopher Jones has an arch, airy tone, the poe ...more
Sue
Aug 18, 2016 Sue rated it it was amazing
I love cats and T.S Elliot. Why I have never read this before is a mystery.
Христо Блажев
Dec 01, 2015 Христо Блажев rated it really liked it
Как трудно измисля се котешко име…: http://knigolandia.info/book-review/p...

“Популярна книга за Котките от Стария Опосум” на Т. С. Елиът е забавна класика, която досега не беше излизала у нас – моите искрени поздравления към Стефан Радев и Иван Брегов, които не само са се заели с нелеката задача да я преведат, но и с не по-леката тегоба да я издадат и разпространяват, две ангажиращи доста пари, време, внимание и нерви задачи. Книгата е в голям формат, наложен от двуезичността на изданието, а същ
...more
Amy
Jan 12, 2016 Amy rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
Some poems are just designed to be sung, and these are a perfect example! Despite the fact that the Cats musical is insufferably confusing and boring (I slept through the entirety of Mungojerrie & Rumpelteazer...), the songs are unbelievably catchy and suit the whimsical nature of these poems perfectly. Deducting two stars for the impressive racism- I know it's a book of it's time etc etc... but ew. Overall very cute, definitely something I would have loved as a child given my lifelong love ...more
Rachel
Jan 01, 2010 Rachel rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010, classics
I'm unpacking all my books from the move and have decided A) Eliot will be allowed on my office bookshelf because I think he'd be perfectly at home there and B) I should really reread his stuff, since it has been a while. (Do you hear that?? REREAD!!)

Yes, the Broadway musical Cats is based on the Book of Practical Cats, but I don't feel like they're one and the same --- the musical has taken on a life of its own and much of the charm of Eliot's original poetry has been lost. His metre is absolut
...more
Jo
Feb 04, 2012 Jo rated it really liked it
"But I tell you, a cat needs a name that's particular,
A name that's peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular,
Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?"


I have to admit that it was an embarrassingly short time ago when I realised that the poems written by T.S Eliot provided the lyrics for the musical Cats.
Don’t get me wrong, I knew that the musical was based on these poems (I’m not completely culturally challenged, I’ll have you know), but I had no ide
...more
Tweedledum
Aug 14, 2016 Tweedledum rated it it was amazing
Shelves: animals, poetry, humour, cats
Schrödinger's cat

Schrödinger's cat's a mystery cat, he illustrates the laws;
The complicated things he does have no apparent cause;
He baffles the determinist, and drives him to despair
For when they try to pin him down--the quantum cat's not there!

Schrödinger's cat's a mystery cat, he's given to random decisions;
His mass is slightly altered by a cloud of virtual kittens;
The vacuum fluctuations print his traces in the air
But if you try to find him, the quantum cat's not there!

Schrödinger's ca
...more
Rebecca
Apr 09, 2015 Rebecca rated it really liked it
Another for the "childhood favorites" shelf. This one made me feel very superior already knowing most of the words to "Cats" when I saw it.

"The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn't just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I'm as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES."

"always on the wrong side of every door"
Chana
Purrrr-fect!

It is more rhyming than poetry, kind of an early Dr. Suess or Shel Silverstein; funny rhymes that people can laugh about. And it is about cats, what could be better? I was charmed by the use of language, the creative rhyming and the cats themselves.

From "The Old Gumbie Cat"

But when the day's hustle and bustle is done,
Then the Gumbie Cat's work is but hardly begun
And when all the family's in bed and asleep,
She slips down the stairs to the basement to creep.
She is deeply concerned w
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • Poetry for Cats: The Definitive Anthology of Distinguished Feline Verse
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  • Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis
  • Amphigorey Too (Amphigorey, #2)
  • Tell Me the Truth about Love
  • The Rattle Bag
  • Kid
  • The School for Cats
  • Angus and the Cat
  • High Windows
  • Archy and Mehitabel
  • Donald Has a Difficulty
  • The War Poems
  • Collected Poems
  • The Bat-Poet
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Thomas Stearns Eliot was a poet, dramatist and literary critic. He received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948 "for his outstanding, pioneer contribution to present-day poetry." He wrote the poems The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, The Waste Land, The Hollow Men, Ash Wednesday, and Four Quartets; the plays Murder in the Cathedral and The Cocktail Party; and the essay Tradition and the Individ ...more
More about T.S. Eliot...

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“The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn't just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I'm as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.
First of all, there's the name that the family use daily,
Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James,
Such as Victor or Jonathan, or George or Bill Bailey -
All of them sensible everyday names.
There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter,
Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames:
Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter -
But all of them sensible everyday names.
But I tell you, a cat needs a name that's particular,
A name that's peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular,
Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?
Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum,
Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat,
Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum -
Names that never belong to more than one cat.
But above and beyond there's still one name left over,
And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover -
But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.
When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
His ineffable effable
Effanineffable
Deep and inscrutable singular Name.”
50 likes
“The name that no human research can discover--
But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.
When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
His ineffable effable
Effanineffable
Deep and inscrutable singular Name.”
42 likes
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