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Who Will Bell the Cat?
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Who Will Bell the Cat?

3.45  ·  Rating details ·  166 ratings  ·  41 reviews
A cat enters a barn and terrorizes a community of mice. Smart Mouse and Friend Mouse think they have solved the problem when they make a collar with a bell for the cat. But who will put the collar on the cat? Wee Mouse, Tiny Mouse, and Teeny Mouse nearly meet their demise in the first attempt. The Rat Pack offers to do it for a fee, but quickly surrenders. Then Smart Mouse ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published March 20th 2018 by Holiday House
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Average rating 3.45  · 
Rating details
 ·  166 ratings  ·  41 reviews

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Apr 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Interesting, if somewhat frightening, illustrations bring to life a story inspired by one of Aesop's most enduring fables. I wasn't a huge fan of making the cat into an ungrateful monster, but I suppose a cat does seem like a monster to a mouse. That said, a cat isn't evil for feeding itself in the only way it can. The book has an open-ended conclusion that leaves readers to ponder the ways in which humans treat different animals, as well as the real-world parallels the fable may have.
Feb 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
McKissack's retelling of this old story has a feel of classic storytelling with a lovely rhythm and formal language.

There is real sense of menace amplified by Christopher Cyr's digital illustrations. Marmalade's orange coat glows against a dark background making him truly scary. Terrific for use in elementary classrooms as prompt.
Briarwood Hollow
Aug 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved it. I like that they were like, "who will bell it?! Ooooooh" - G, age 7

Good. - R, age 3
Sharon Lawler
LOL. A new twist to a timeless fable. A great addition to the fable collection.
Apr 27, 2018 rated it liked it
A rather literary retelling of an Aesop fable. If the reader can stick it out to the end - they will be rewarded, but the vibrant illustrations can be a little too frightening and the elevated text can drag a little at times so not sure how many will make it to the finish line!
Jun 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
When Marmalade the cat comes into the mice’s barn, sick and hungry, the mice help to nurse her back to health. But when Marmalade recovers, she starts to hunt the mice, terrorizing them. Now the mice had to come up with a plan on how to handle the cat. Eventually Smart Mouse finds a bell and the mice create a collar for the cat, but who will be brave enough to get it around her neck. The mice try time and again and even turn to the local rats for help, but Marmalade evades each attempt. It isn’t ...more
Apr 12, 2018 rated it liked it
There are two reasons why I did not like this book. First, the off-screen death of the bird just felt cruel. Second, the ending was dissatisfying. It leaves the reader feeling like the mice have a bigger problem (humans) than they did in the cat.
Digital illustrations show off the fierceness of a cat named Marmalade who terrorizes the mice who befriended him and the other barn animals. While kindness should be rewarded, that isn't what happens here. Even though the mice have provided food and shelter to the feline when he was sick and cold, he seems to have forgotten their compassion and reverts to his true nature and favorite pastime, catching mice. Naturally, the mice can't allow this to happen so they come up with a plan to make a col ...more
Feb 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya-kid-lit
No one can tell a story quite the way Patricia McKissack does. I've seen other versions of this fable, but her story of the band of mice working together is enjoyable and teaches great lessons about cooperation, problem-solving, resourcefulness, and perseverance. The sad part is that the mice save the cat, but once they have nursed her back to health, she terrorizes them. I suppose another lesson is that we are all true to our own natures, whatever they may be. Once they begin looking for ways t ...more
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
McKissack, Patricia C. Who Will Bell the Cat? Illustrated by Christopher Cyr. PICTURE BOOK. Holiday House, 2018. $18. 9780823437009.

The barn mice are terrified of the cat that they themselves saved and invited into the barn. While they come up with a plan to bell the cat, every plan they come to execute the plan fails. When someone new arrives on the scene, though, the mice see a way to reach their end game.

McKissack takes a familiar story and adds whimsy and depth. Rather than the plump, lazy h
Teresa Bateman
Feb 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The good-hearted barn mice take in a poor battered cat and nurse it back to health. This is a serious mistake. Marmalade is now the bane of their existence. How can they solve this problem? Smart Mouse, Friend Mouse and wise Mouse combine forces to save their community. They have a bell. They have a collar...but who will bell the cat? In this amusing and crisp retelling and expansion of the classic story the answer comes from outside, when a family moves into the house and, through Smart Mouse's ...more
Robin Loughlin
Jun 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed "Who Will Bell the Cat" even more than I thought I would, after first seeing the pictures that can seem a bit scary at first sighting. However, the wording is cute and enjoyable. It's a good read aloud for school aged children. I like how all the mice have names like Smart Mouse, Wise Mouse, Friend Mouse, and they work together for solutions in dealing with a cat that they had originally nursed back to health, but he turned against them after he is well. They have meetings to di ...more
Tammy Seidel
Feb 16, 2019 marked it as cvtc-kidlit
Shelves: picture-books
A tabby cat named Marmalade, who is quite big and sick is found sleeping in a barn by some mice. The mice nurse the cat to health. But, when Marmalade was back to health, he started to terrorize the mice. The mice come up with a plan to keep themselves safe. A sleigh bell is just what the mice needed. Will it work? How are they going to get the bell onto the cat?
Clever mice, clever story with beautiful pictures. Illustrated by Christopher Cyr. Fuse #8 Blog’s “2018 Fairy Tales, Folktales, and Rel
A group of barn mice befriend, and nurse back to health an ailing tabby cat named Marmalade, but once the cat was well, it did what cats do. So it was decided that the cat must be belled to give an early warning to the mice. The biggest question; was who was going to bell the cat? Several attempts failed, but soon the problem was solved. But when you use a tiger to get ride of a lion, what do you do with the tiger?
A wonderful retelling of the tale of mice who are terrorized by a cat. They make a plan to put a belled collar on the cat but cannot find a safe way to do it. One day a family moves into the house and the child takes an interest in the cat. The mice put the collar in the child's way and she realizes it belongs on the cat, therefore belling the cat. But the mice now have to deal with the humans who they know are not fond of mice.
Kelly Carey
This is a fable that has been re-told in books numerous times -- I did love the illustrations and the plucky determined mice -- just wonder how this version is a unique improvement over past versions?
Jun 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
I have loved Patricia McKissack ever since I read Flossie and the Fox back in the mid-1990's. This story was fresh and enjoyable with McKissack's storytelling stamp and the illustrations were beautifully expressive. I thoroughly enjoyed this fresh take on an old story.
Dec 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens-je
"Humans! The mice had never seen any but they had heard stories about how dangerous humans were."

"When you use a tiger to get rid of a lion, what will you do with the tiger?"

"That's another problem for a different day."

Heydi Smith
A very good look at the circle of life and about perseverance in the face of challenging situations.

The mice never gave up. They never resorted to violence even though it was imposed on them.

An important story with many deeper thoughts hidden like gems to discover.
Mice problem solve to deal with a troublesome barn cat.
Edward Sullivan
Feb 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Barn mice plan on how to deal with a new resident, a terrifying cat.
Apr 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
I loved the illustrations, and the characterizations add richness to the old tale.
Marg Corjay
Apr 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fresh new take on a classic. Great illustrations!
May 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read this to my daughter. Very cute story, and great pictures.
What do you expect he's a cat.
The cats try to figure out who will bell the cat in this cute children's book.
The story is okay, but it's rather dark. And the menacing cat (along with other illustrations) are dark as well. A little scary.
May 24, 2018 rated it liked it
i thought this was kind of scary and overly long.
Anna DuBose
May 25, 2018 rated it liked it
An interesting (and, at times, a little frightening) retelling of the classic fable. I enjoyed this, even though it means that LM.C's "Bell the Cat" is now stuck in my head.
mary dewley
Jun 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very lush and beautiful pictures.
Jul 30, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: picture-books
Simple retelling--a little long.
Susan Jackson
Oct 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Especially love the illustrations in this book. The mice have to figure out how to put a bell on the cat so they can hear him coming. This book would be best for grades 2-4.
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Patricia C. McKissack was the Newbery Honor, Coretta Scott King Award-winning author of The Dark-Thirty and Porch Lies an ALA Notable Book. She collaborated with Jerry Pinkney on Goin' Someplace Special (Coretta Scott King Award winner) and Mirandy and Brother Wind (Coretta Scott King Award winner and Caldecott Honor Book).

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