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How the Cat Swallowed Thunder
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How the Cat Swallowed Thunder

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  164 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
When Mother Holly leaves to do errands, she warns Cat to behave himself. But faster than a cat can pounce, he is up to his whiskers in trouble! One crazy mishap leads to another, until the little cottage is in a very messy state. Cat is busily tidying up when he hears Mother Holly coming up the path. He spies a tiny piece of corn on the floor and quickly swallows it. But i ...more
Paperback, 40 pages
Published February 24th 2003 by Picture Puffins (first published August 1st 2000)
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Rating details
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May 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
Shelves: 2011, childrens, pets, russia
This is a fun and magical story - we loved the trouble the cat got into and yet all ended well. We love cats, so we were excited to read a folktale about how a cat gets his purr. I liked the subtle Russian theme and the illustrations were wonderful. The narrative was a bit long and might not keep the attention of younger children. But we really enjoyed reading this story together.
Aug 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: storytime
Cute fantasy story for youngers.
Nov 13, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-book, 2012
I thought this was fun, and it didn't end how I expected at all. This is Lloyd Alexander's idea of how the cat got his purr - along the lines of a Kipling Just So story. The illustrations by Judith Schachner are a lot of fun as well - colorful and energetic. You can tell both the author and the illustrator are cat lovers.
Feb 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Cat lives with a "Mother Nature" type lady in her cottage. One day when she has to do some errands outside, he gets into all sorts of mischief inside. So many things are magical and he experiences fires, floods, thunder, snow, etc. Each time he cleans up something, something else happens. He does clean it all up, but the corn kernel he swallowed makes his tummy rumble like thunder--hence he starts purring for the first time.

What I liked: Wonderful illustrations that are rich and detailed--fun th
Mar 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting folk tale on how the cat gained her ability to purr; by swallowing thunder!
Kathryn Bergeron
This book is from the Favorites neighborhood.

It was fine. It tries to explain the seasons through housework at "Mother Holly's" house (Mother Earth). A cat causes trouble and cleans it up, and those are the seasons: The March Winds as a bellows; A snow of goose feathers from the comforter....

Pseudo-realistic images
Long story
Friend of Pixie (F.O.P.)
How we love Lloyd Alexander. Do you know that Alexander looked very
much like an elf? Any picture of him in profile makes me imagine him with large, gracefully pointed elf ears sticking out of his wavy hair. Anyway, he loved cats and here is another of his cat books, a charming funny tale in the tradition of Kipling's "Just So" stories that tells us why cats purr. The illustrations by Schachner, who wrote & illustrated the lovely "Grannyman," really make this book. We spent a lot of time look
Catherine  Mustread
Reminded me of the Strega Nona books where magical and unexplainable things happen by accident. Enjoyed the great illustrations by Judith Schachner of Skippyjon Jones fame, especially the two little mice that are hiding on every page.
May 16, 2009 rated it liked it
I really felt sorry for this poor cat as he tried to clean the house. He was lazy, but once he set to work he managed to get the job done. The ending was a bit random, but it wasn't totally dissatisfying. The illustrations were colorful and energetic. I might recommend.

*Taken from my book reviews blog:
Sep 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
I love Lloyd Alexander's writing, and I love that Lloyd Alexander loved cats. I love the grey cat in the illustrations, and I love the gentle folk tale of a story. My only complaint would be that this book is a little long to keep younger listeners engaged. I would not, however, cut a single word from it.
Dec 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a good story, I am glad I read it and am sorry that I haven't read it earlier. It will work for early elementary to read to, but probably not a preschool program. Also Judy Schachner illustrated it, and I only thought she did Skippyjohn Jones. This makes the reading challenge fun.
Mar 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Style of a folktale. Rich language. Charming illustrations and character (the cat who just wants a little nap and a taste of soup, but all goes wrong and he has to clean it up quick, before Mother Holly gets back.) Read to age 4-9.
Jun 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
The mischievous cat lives with Mother Holly. The decisions he makes on a day he is home alone result in gaining his purr.
Jun 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens, own
The illustrations are neat and it's not difficult to imagine a cat getting into all this mischief! An interesting way to explain why cats purr. My daughter (6 years old) thinks it's quite funny.
Nov 08, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
longer story, best for age 6+
not a fan of the illustrations
felt too wordy
Oct 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing


I love how Lloyd Alexander loves cats. Have you ever wondered when cats started purring? Then read this. The illustrations are really perfect too.
Feb 06, 2015 rated it liked it
A lot more text than most picture books.
Petrie Serrano
A charming pourquoi story beginning to end, fantastical in unexpected ways. Even more interesting if you look for the two little mice who appear in the illustrations but not the text.
Apr 12, 2012 rated it liked it
In this book a cat gets into a lot of trouble. If only he had listened to the old lady. This is a book to read to students to show them what happens when you don't follow the rules.
There's a name for stories about why things are the way they are, isn't there? Is "Just So Stories" limited to Kipling? Anyway, why cats purr. Cute.
Danica Midlil
Read this a few years ago but couldn't for the life of me remember the title. I've finally found it again!
It's one of my favorite "How the..." tales ever.
Mar 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The kindergartner really enjoyed this book.
Mar 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
An amusing explanation for how cats began to purr. Great illustrations.
rated it really liked it
Mar 19, 2008
rated it really liked it
Apr 26, 2015
rated it liked it
Jan 14, 2014
Shanshad Whelan
rated it really liked it
Nov 03, 2013
rated it liked it
Oct 04, 2012
rated it really liked it
Jan 07, 2013
rated it really liked it
Jun 21, 2017
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Lloyd Chudley Alexander was an influential American author of more than forty books, mostly fantasy novels for children and adolescents, as well as several adult books. His most famous contribution to the field of children's literature is the fantasy series The Chronicles of Prydain. The concluding book of the series, The High King , was awarded the Newbery Medal in 1969. Alexander's other books ...more
More about Lloyd Alexander

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