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Whittington

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3.54 of 5 stars 3.54  ·  rating details  ·  1,391 ratings  ·  193 reviews
This Newbery-Honor winning tale introduces Whittington, a roughneck Tom who arrives one day at a barn full of rescued animals and asks for a place there. He spins for the animals—as well as for Ben and Abby, the kids whose grandfather does the rescuing—a yarn about his ancestor, the nameless cat who brought Dick Whittington to the heights of wealth and power in 16th-centur ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published December 26th 2006 by Yearling (first published July 26th 2005)
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Charlotte's Web by E.B. WhiteElla Enchanted by Gail Carson LevineBecause of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamilloHatchet by Gary PaulsenPrincess Academy by Shannon Hale
Newbery Medal Honor Books
99th out of 312 books — 284 voters
Dewey by Vicki MyronHomer's Odyssey by Gwen CooperOld Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T.S. EliotInto the Wild by Erin HunterThe Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
Cat Lovers List
90th out of 590 books — 294 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,514)
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wild pear
With remarkably efficient but evocotive writing, Armstrong uses a clever artifice to tell the stories of two boys who each overcome a difficult challenge with the aid of a rather unusual cat. The first escapes a certain life of servitude in the Middle Ages to find greater fortune. The second, in the present, overcomes his dyslexia to learn to read. In both, personal perseverence, the nobelness of aiding strangers, the importance of family, and joy of storytelling come across easily without feeli ...more
Dominic
At times charming and lovely, Whittington is a strangely ambitious tale that tries to weave three--possibly even four--narratives together, and only sometimes hits the mark. The characters are endearing (especially for a cat lover), and most of the storylines are enjoyable. Yet many of the chapters, even some of the best, ended abruptly and transitioned awkwardly. In the end, I'm not sure how powerfully they hold together as a finished work.

All the same, this is a fine book for children, and I w
...more
Bette
This book is in the tradition of EB White's classic "Charlotte's Web." However, it is not in the same league, despite its Newbery honor award. There are too many stories going on at once. There's the story of the animals in the barn, which isn't much of a story. There's the story of "Dick Whittington & His Cat," told by his descendant, Whittington. And then there's Ben's battle with dyslexia, which seems put in the book to give hope to kids with reading difficulties. I see how Dick Whittingt ...more
Dawn (& Ron)
Anna's ABC&D book club read

Whittington is a dual storyline, a modern story of a homeless, tattered around the edges, smart cat named Whittington, in search of a place to live and the 14th century historical adventure of his name sake, Dick Whittington and his famous cat, whose name has been lost to history.

"Whittington is a person in history. He's in books"


Ron's point of view Telling of Dick Whittington's adventures with his cat is great for children who think history is boring and dusty
...more
Dawn (& Ron)
Ron rates it 4 stars and I rated it 4-1/2 stars. Review forthcoming.

SHHH, DONT TELL MOM AND DAD BUT HEY THEY STEPPED OUT OF THE ROOM LEAVING THIS THING ON SO HERE I SIT TYPING. THEY BOTH READ THIS AND TALKED SO MUCH ABOUT THIS BLASTED CAT WHITTINGTON LIKE HE WAS SOOOO SPECIAL. DOES HE HAVE ONE EXTRA LONG FANG TOOTH LIKE ME, DOES HE LIKE BUGLES AND DORITOS - I SNEAK THEM WHEN THEY AREN'T LOOKING. SERIOUSLY IM RIGHT HERE TO PET AND BOY DO IIIIIIIIIIIIIII OOPS SAT TO LONG ON THAT KEY. I LOVE TO GE
...more
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
What could be better than the traditional tale of Dick Whittington told from the point of view of his cat? Well deserving of the Newbery honor book award.
Ann Carpenter
A Newbery Honor book, this title was enjoyable, but not without its flaws. The structure overall was very well done, moving from one time period to another with easy transitions and keeping the pace with both stories. But at the same time, I was not terribly interested in Ben's work with his reading, so those parts of the book always seemed to drag for me, less because the pacing was bad than because of my boredom with the subject matter. A child who's struggling to read? I can't imagine how tha ...more
Jen
Whittington is a 2006 Newbery Honor book, and reading it gave me an insight into the award: it's for books that adults want children to like, not books that children might actually like (ex/Diary of a Wimpy Kid). This does not read like a contemporary book.

Our protagonist Whittington is a tom cat who goes to live in a barn and talks with the other animals. Then the orphaned grandchildren of the farmer nestle in the hay and listen to the cat tell the story of his namesake, Dick Whittington (no h
...more
Lief
Had fun listening to this audio book with the kids. :) The story is well-woven between the narrator telling a tale of barn yard animals and the two children who love them and the tale of a cat's ancestor in medieval England. I love how the author switches back and forth between the two stories because it adds a lot of depth for parents who wish to read to their kids or listen to the audiobook. **I HIGHTLY RECOMMEND LISTENING TO THE AUDIOBOOK** The voice-actor does a splendid job of acting out a ...more
KidsFiction Teton County Library
TLC CALL #: J CD BOOK ARMSTRONG

Chris’s Rating: 2 Stars
A cat who calls himself Whittington, no longer has a home. Wanting friends, he petitions the barnyard animals to let him join their family of unwanted animals, cared for by a farmer whose heart won’t let him abandon them. The farmer’s grandchildren visit the barn, conversing with the animals who help a young boy with dyslexia pursue reading, all the while being inspired by Whittington’s tale of the boy from the past (and his cat) whose name h
...more
Bones Kendall
I liked Whittington and my kids did as well. It was a bit of a surprise. I got the book from the local used bookstore, pretty much just because of the cat on the cover. That was about the extent of it, though I did notice award.

We did not know what to expect and found the story to be compelling and earnest. There is a group of animals, a hodgepodge, who live in a barn behind a Texaco filling station. It's rural America back east somewhere.

The story goes that Whittington arrives and finds a purpo
...more
Charity
The first several chapters of this book were quite good. I loved the details of Whittington's arrival at the barn and the manner in which he proved himself to the other animals, but the book seemed to lose some of that charm as it went along. The switch between the parallel stories was often clumsy (for example, the transitions between chapters included a lot about eating and horses stretching their legs, which just felt tacked on to me) and just tedious.

It didn't help that neither of the stori
...more
Braden Bell
This is a book I hope to be able to write some day. It is incredibly sweet--even uplifting--without being treacly or overwrought. It is also extremely well-written. Armstrong's prose is a model of economy and simplicity. It is the kind of writing that seems simple and easy until you try to do it. I really loved this book and am going to put it on my list of books I come back to occasionally for comfort. You really need to read this.
Leigh Isley
Genre: Animal Fantasy
Ages: 5th to 7th grade readers

Whittington is about a ophaned tom cat that comes to live in Bernie's Barn. The barn is full of orphans that no else seems to have a use for anymore. Whittington being new asked the other animals could he stay in the barn also, everyone agrees except for Lady. Lady is in charge of the barn. She was a little hesitant at first, but then Whittington claim to be a master ratter and since this is something that is needed she says yes.
Abby and Ben, Be
...more
Crystal
This was a Newberry Honor Winner??? What??? Couldn't make it past page 25 (And I forced myself to even read that far). There were many problems I had with the book, but the three main problems I had were it was 1. SOOOOOO boring 2. talking animals - I hate it when animals talk with each other like they are human 3. Did I mention the book was boring!!!!
Peggy Crawford
A top-notch children's book. It's a Newbery Honor book. There are several stories being told all at the same time. Whitington is the cat, named after the famous Dick Whitington and his cat. Would make a great gift for any child ages 8 to 12.
Magda
Teddy pulled this book off the shelf for me. It wasn't what I expected (about Dick Whittington), but used the traditional tale in an interesting way, with a descendant of Dick Whittington's cat telling the tale to help a young boy and his sister.
Llewellyn
This book has some good messages (it encourages kids to read, to not give up, and to be kind to animals). But it also had some bad ones (a main character smokes and another runs away from home when he's about 10). Other than that it's just ok. There are a few different stories going on, Dick's story, the kids' story, and the animals' story. I thought the kids' story and the animals' story blended together fine. But Dick's story seemed very awkwardly stuck in there. I felt like this book should h ...more
Saundra
An interesting story - yet it had a random or disjointed feeling to me. I liked the story of the first special cat, but felt that important parts of the story were left unexplained. Then again, I read the book and liked it, so things worked on many levels! Animals working out differences, animals teaching a child to read, a child struggling in school and overcoming obstacles through hard work - these are themes that I think children would enjoy reading about. I also love books that have connecti ...more
Addie P
I imagined the silly cat as a dog.
Jill Chomowicz
Oct 29, 2014 Jill Chomowicz rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: All - especially those who like animals, Charlotte's Web.
Recommended to Jill by: Julia
Whittington is a modern fable in disguise. A thoroughly enjoyable read.

Don't let the fact that the story takes place in a barn amongst talking animals disuade the more mature reader. Categorized for 9-12, older kids will be surprised to find it worthwhile as a captivating quick read. This is not the simple child fantasy of Charlotte's Web. The story within the story is adventureous enough to interest not just girls but also BOYS of all ages. (No disrespect intended. Charlottes web is a classic -
...more
Josiah
I don't think the influence of S.D. Schindler's artwork on the overall quality of this book can be overemphasized. His spare pencil drawings of the quiet barn and its animal residents as they carry on their own dramatic existence apart from the world at large lends a sober credibility to those goings-on, and gives the importance of their lives together a deeper, more immediate sense of significance to us, the readers. The writing of author Alan Armstrong doesn't fail to enhance this sincere sen ...more
Erin Reilly-Sanders
I'm a little surprised that this one made the Newbery honor list, as while the story was nice and portrays a boy working through his dyslexia along with the romantic adventure of Dick Whittington, told from the view point of one of his cat's descendants, the writing just isn't that good. Perhaps it becomes the most obvious when listening rather than reading silently. A lot of the sentences have a very plain structure that becomes rather repetitive. The author also tends to tell rather than show ...more
Stefanie
This was a kindof odd book, i felt like the author was trying to make several connections and tell some history but it just didn't come together very well. It was interesting to relate the unwanted animals in the barn with the Ben's low reading stigma. There were 3 stories going on simultaneously and I just never really got into any one of them. There was a quote I really liked though, regarding buying a share of a friends business, "Buy a quarter or three-quarters, but nothing less and nothing ...more
♫Tewi♫
(view spoiler) ...more
Sarah
Whittington tells the story of a barn cat named Whittington. The cat, Whittington is named after Dick Whittington, a boy who earned his way in life and became a wealthy merchant in the Middle Ages in Europe. This man’s story is told through the cat Whittington, who lives in a barn on a small acreage with several other animals. Whittington was written by Alan W. Armstrong. I think the appropriate age group for this book is 8 and up.
Although parents should know that a young boy is wounded in the f
...more
Angela Sunshine
This is a cute book told through a motley crue of barnyard animals. Whittington, a cat, is the main character and narrator of the book. He's relating a story about the adventures of the cat from which he descended, while there are multiple side stories happening in the present time with the various barn inhabitants and the farm owner's family.

I like how it doesn't speak down to kids, but instead uses the children in the book as a reason to explain new or difficult words. It also doesn't candy co
...more
Mirrani
Whittington isn't a long or complicated book, it's a quick read and it is very simple. The plot is split between Whittington the cat living in his barn and Whittington the person, who is the man the cat is named after. The cat and the person are intertwined and the cat tells the story of how the human grew up many, many years ago and how he found and befriended a cat, who is a many-great relative of the Whittington of today. The human has adventures, the cat lives the life of a cat, settled happ ...more
Heather
My first impression was not very favorable: is this another barnyard tale, with talking animals as in Charlotte's Web or Babe? And I wish the author explained more about how only certain people could hear the animals talk.

But I quickly realized that this book is much more. Similar to the Princess Bride (the movie) or the Neverending Story, the author had two stories take turns in the narrative. I loved the parallels between the struggles of the boy with dyslexia and the poor but ambitious boy o
...more
Sheri Fredricks
I think this is a Middle Grade book, my son brought it home from school. I've never read a book in the Omniscient POV before and not sure I liked it that way. But the story was good, the animals enchanting. My son and I were both in agreement that neither of us liked the way the story ended however. It felt like the author, Alan Armstrong, didn't know how to end it and just made something up in two pages--and that was it. The End. We were both left wondering, "Huh?"

This is the story of a cat nam
...more
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Alan Armstrong started volunteering in a friend's bookshop when he was eight. At 14, he was selling books at Brentano's. As an adult, every so often, he takes to the road in a VW bus named Zora to peddle used books. He is the editor of Forget Not Mee & My Garden, a collection of the letters of Peter Collinson, the 18th-century mercer and amateur botanist. He lives with his wife, Martha, a pain ...more
More about Alan Armstrong...
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