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But Who Will Bell the Cats?
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But Who Will Bell the Cats?

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  233 Ratings  ·  57 Reviews
Finally, the solution to Aesop’s age-old question: But who will bell the cats?

Mouse and his friend Brown Bat are tired of watching the princess’s cats enjoy the life of luxury in the banquet hall of the castle, while they languish on crumbs and sleep in smelly socks.

They are determined to get out of the basement and join the fun and frolicking. But how to get past those sp
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published September 7th 2009 by HMH Books for Young Readers
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
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Sep 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
What’s wrong with a little gilt? A little jewelry, fanciness, lace, velvet, and champagne? Nothing, really. It just depends on how it’s done. I get these little girls in my library all the time requesting “princess” stories, and truth be told what they really want is something gorgeous to the eye. They’re the kinds of gals who drool over the Fancy Nancy books and sit hypnotized by the work of Kinuko Y Craft. Sometimes it’s enough to drive a good old-fashioned feminist up the wall. Not like I was ...more
Sep 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Kathryn by: Chandra--thank you!
OMG!!!! I actually won this in the GoodReads "First Reads" giveaway!!! I can't believe it!!! :-D AND, it's my birthday today. Woo hoo!

This is an absolutely marvelous, exquisite, fascinating and fun book! The artwork is amazing! I love all the little model rooms and "real life" miniature objects that von Buhler included for backdrops, and the real stars of the story are the fantastic "paper doll" cut-outs of the cats, the mouse, the bat and the princess. Their expressions are priceless! (I even l
Christian McKay
Sep 13, 2009 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
This was my first time winning a Goodreads First Reads giveaway! And what a great book for my first win! The illustrations are gorgeous and interesting. I wouldn't be surprised to see this as a Caldecott contender. I found new and interesting details every time I looked through the book.

The story is also very fun! It's an answer to a question posed in one of Aesop's fables. A group of mice have an idea to minimize the danger of the cat, which is to tie a ribbon with a bell around the cat's neck
this is one of the books I wish I had when I was little.

I remember reading the old version of "Who will bell the cat" when I was little...and I was curious to find out what can be new about it?

...and I was very impressed. The illustrations coupled with collage are neatly designed. I love how there was a comparison between the cats' life and the mouse's life. At the end the smart mouse found the best person to bell the cats.

...and I kept wondering about Aesop who wrote the first version of this s
Sep 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
I completely and totally adore this book. The story is great and the illustrations are unbelievable. Read it! Now!
Nov 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
Aesop has been abridged, adapted and updated but now he has been answered!Reading von Buhler's book is nearly a theatrical experience. Sets are composed of walls, floors, and the appropriate miniature furnishings which are then photographed. The princess and her cats live in warm opulence upstairs while the bat and mouse exist in the dank cellar below. The omniscient reader/audience takes in both views at once.

Children and adults alike are apt to pour over the illustrations, not wanting to miss
Nov 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
Stunning illustrations -- painted paper dolls photographed in handmade sets. It's really the lighting that completes their fantasticness. I love the upstairs/downstairs world in this expansion upon the Aesop story -- the contrast is even shown via different fonts, as poor Mouse is made to make do with the basement world below the spoiled cats. Great book for kids who like fables, seek-and-find books, or anything frilly and detailed. Look closely for the applicable Aesop morals on the back, and c ...more
Oct 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kids
I have a huge collection of picture books, but this one is the most incredibly gorgeous one ever! The detail is extraordinary: You can feel both the chill as a rusty drainpipe drips onto the shivering mouse for his shower, and the contrasting luxury as the cat above him bathes in a golden tub by the fireplace, her cozy slippers waiting for her by the tub, the whole room awash in warm candlelight. The skill and artistry of this book is exceptional, and children and adults alike will enjoy poring ...more
Sep 14, 2010 rated it liked it
Well reviewed, if criticized for its "haunting" illustrations. (

In this retelling of a classic fable, the underdogs (in this case, mice) triumph again. With startling illustrations the tale unfolds with mice scurrying desperately beneath a family of very spoiled cats. In the end, the Princess emerges from her stiff, pompous setting to play the critical role in enable the mice to reach their goal.

Perfect fit for an art lesson mimicking this cut-out style; also excellent for
Elise Crawford
Nov 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
Looking for that perfect picture storybook to give this holiday season? I just the perfect one;

But Who Will Bell the Cats? by Cynthia von Buhler immediately captures the imagination with the magical, true-to- life, settings she singlehandedly created on every page. von Buhler also captures your heart as you experience the defeats and yet final triumph of her main character, Mouse. Even more fun is the website von Buhler created for her book, von Buhler’s story
Gwen the Librarian
Nov 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
This modern re-telling of an Aesop fable features a clever mouse and bat who are trying to outsmart some spoiled cats so they can enjoy the comforts of the castle. What make this re-telling so spectacular are the richly detailed and slightly creepy "illustrations". They're like little theatre sets with cut-out characters enacting the scenes. It was obviously a fun book to create, and the simple story paired with all the details will make this one to read over and over with a child on your lap.
Marie Bossio
Oct 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
My children and I thoroughly enjoyed this story. It's a cute story about a mouse residing in the basement of a castle in squalor while the cats up stairs are living the opulent life with their princess. Until he devises a plan to be able to enjoy life upstairs without the cats bothering him by being warned of their prescence. The illustrations in this book are gorgeous, and it was such a fun read.
Oct 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I learned how to bell the cats. This is a fantastic story with and incredible illustrations. The book website is a real treat. It features animations, lesson plans, games, posters: Don't miss the blog which outlines how this unique book was created: http://butwhowillbellthecats.blogspot...
Cynthia von Buhler is one talented lady.
Sep 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens, cats
This gem of a book couldn't be more perfect. The gorgeous, thoughtful, detailed illustrations are amazing. The story is sweet and a delightful resolution to the fable. And if the book itself isn't enchanting enough, you can find more information and activities at the charming web site: My son will be getting this for Christmas!
Hoover Public Library Kids and Teens
This story is based on a question posed in Aesop's Fables about who would put the bells on the cats so the mice could hear them coming. The illustrations in this book are a unique and beautiful blend of mixed media. This is a wonderful fairy tale story for children to share with their parents. PreS-2nd grade.
Aug 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library-book
Anyone with young children(5 to 10), I highly recommend this book. Not only is the story interesting, the illustrations throughout the book are amazing. I could love the book from illustrations alone...the words add to that.
Feb 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
What a truly lovely children's book. Perfect for bedtime reading, and really well-illustrated with cut-outs & diorama styling, reminiscent of Lauren Child's Charlie & Lola books or her Princess & Pea book.
Adele Griffin
Jan 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
If you know a young reader -- or even an older reader -- who loves mice, cats, and dollhouses, plus wants to find something new and charming on every read, this book is for you. Delightful and unusually inventive.
Dec 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This book was soooooo cute, very vintage looking and the artist was amazing in creating the sets for each scene :) I like to think that I'm like the princess with her eight cats ;)
Sep 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Jan 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children
Based on an Aesop fable, the story ends with a twist here. Nice use of mixed media, and bonus points for clever princess manipulation. A hit with the 3 year old in particular.
Apr 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Great retelling of the old fable. Beautiful and clever artwork!
Dec 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
A very clever story with very unusual illustrations that use a combination of 3D real items and 2D drawings.
Sep 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Some of the most beautiful illustrations ever. Magnificent.
Jan 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
A bit long for very young readers
Apr 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Performance artist/sculptor/ illustrator and children’s author Cynthia von Buhler dazzles with her captivating, ingenious and memorable book But Who Will Bell the Cats? Through painstaking detail, humor and whimsy, Cynthia will captivates with the story of Mouse and his friend Brown Bat as they discover kindness winning over cunning. Each cat has its own personality as carefully drawn by Cynthia. As the Princess’s cats enjoy bubble baths, fine dining, and fluffy beds with perfumed pillows in the ...more
Sep 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Aesop's fable is expanded upon in this lavishly decorated tale of a mouse who wants some security and peace of mind. Starting with the original tale, the history of the plight of mice is established, and the solution which they so long ago thought up, is finally made possible.

All of the images are made using dollhouse objects, and paper cut-out characters. In this way, the 2D pictures pop out from its 3D environment, and is one of several ways the artist employs contrast. It is this element tha
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
The author here provides an alternative solution to the problem presented in Aesop's fable of who among the mice will bell the cat. In this case it's a mouse and a bat who want to bell 8 cats owned by the princess. Their solution, in the end, is rather clever. I liked the fact that the princess was kind to the mouse and bat instead of being afraid of them. Von Buhler's illustrations here were interesting, a combination of cut-out drawings/paintings set in photos of dollhouse-like sets. A good co ...more
Justin Bloch
Aug 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Our daughter was really into this book. All of the miniature sets were incredibly impressive.

It turns out that our daughter loved this book so much, she requested that we get it from the library AGAIN. Then she talked non-stop on the way home about how much she loved it and couldn't wait to read it. And this time, reading through, I'm even more impressed with the detail in the sets. A spectacular book that we highly recommend!
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Cynthia von Buhler (represented by Jennifer Laughran, Andrea Brown Literary Agency)

Cynthia von Buhler's picture books include BUT WHO WILL BELL THE CATS? (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) and THE CAT WHO WOULDN'T COME INSIDE (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), which was chosen as a Book Sense "Children's Pick" and "Best of 2006" by Parent & Child Magazine. The 3-D dioramas she created for these books have
More about Cynthia von Buhler...

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