Manny's Reviews > Minou

Minou by Mindy Bingham
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's review
May 21, 09

really liked it
bookshelves: children
Read in January, 1992, read count: 20

One of my favorite books for children. Minou, a lovingly-drawn Siamese, lives with an old artist lady in a Paris apartment. One day, the lady suddenly drops dead. (This is implied; the actual death happens off-stage). Minou, who has never had to look after herself for five minutes of her pampered life, is out on the street. She doesn't know how to cross a road, find food, anything. All she can do is act cute. But she's not quick enough with the cute, no one wants to take her in, and now she's thin and dirty - not cute at all. Things look really bad.

Enter Celeste, a white cat clearly from Somewhere Else. (This is the only book I know which features a feminist feline angel). She looks the heroine in the eye and says "Minou, it's time to teach you to be self-sufficient!" And, sure enough, she does. Under Celeste's capable tuition, Minou rapidly acquires a full range of life skills. After a month, Celeste pronounces herself satisfied, and tells her protegée that it's time to get a job. She knows (she appears to have inside connections) that Notre Dame cathedral needs a new mouse-catcher. Minou is the only applicant, and is asked to start immediately. When she looks round, Celeste has gone.

Although the book is intended more for girls, my two boys adored it; I recommended it to a colleague, who says her 6 year old boy did too. There is an interesting layer that will only be apparent to adult readers. Another memorable scene, near the beginning. Minou is being washed in the sink, and visibly not liking it - she's tensed up, and her claws are out. The narrator comments "It isn't always nice to belong to someone". But, later on, she learns that it's much pleasanter to lick yourself clean...
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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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Manny I literally do not know ANYONE who has seen this book, and didn't like it! Children and adults both :)

message 2: by Jen (last edited May 21, 2009 08:57AM) (new) - added it

Jen Delightful- marking it down for my merry band.

Neil Gaiman has a short story in which a cat saves a character's family every night from the forces of evil. I can't remember if the cat was female. It is in Smoke and Mirrors. Kelly Link uses cats in this way as well. But your feminist feline sounds more developed.

message 3: by Robert (new)

Robert This does sound excellent!

message 4: by Jane (new)

Jane White feminist angel 'rescuing' an helpless oriental? Are you sure you never saw this before? :P :P

Manny Jane wrote: "White feminist angel 'rescuing' an helpless oriental? Are you sure you never saw this before? :P :P"

You're right, it does sound strangely familiar. But I can't place it! Damn, it's on the tip of my tongue!

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