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Carbonel: The King of Cats (Carbonel, #1)
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Carbonel: The King of Cats (Carbonel #1)

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  1,142 Ratings  ·  110 Reviews
Back in print in the U.S. for the first time in over 30 years.

Rosemary's plan to clean houses during her summer break and surprise her mother with the money hits a snag when an old lady at the market talks her into buying a second-rate broom and a cat she can't even afford to keep. But appearances can be deceiving. Some old ladies are witches, some brooms can fly, and some
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Hardcover, 192 pages
Published October 31st 2004 by New York Review Children's Collection (first published 1955)
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Mariel
Dec 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: strange things that had happened since
Recommended to Mariel by: silent magic
'Well, don't let them see you. Really, Rosemary, you have no ingenuity.'
A number of rather angry replies came into Rosemary's mind at this, but she remembered Napoleon and Charles the Second and swallowed the retorts that came to her lips.


The king of the cats was stolen from his great inheritance by a vain and greedy witch. Enslaved to her petty treacheries great and small until he is freed at long last by the fulfillment of a prophecy. I loved the simplicity of their magic. The foretold three q
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Miriam
Jun 29, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, younger
Although I gave this a 4 at the time it should probably be lower, as I just read the sequel without remembering this book or the characters in the least.
Ivonne Rovira
Jun 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This was a favorite book from my childhood, and it's still excellent 40 years later. I just ordered it for my own daughter, who just loves cats. (We have three.) Even though she's 15, she still loved reading Carbonel: The King of Cats. I'm so pleased that it's back in print! Some children's books are so good that you don't have to be young to enjoy them. This is one.
Cheryl
Apr 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Dated, simple adventure fantasy. No real wisdom, resonance, or poignancy... or humor, for that matter. Everything kinda just falls into place: the children always have just enough pocket change, they never bicker, Carbonel is meant to be leader by right of Birth (which, you know, grates on my American sensibilities just too much), the rich lady is kind, the mother is patient, etc. Ok fine. Let's move along to Nesbit or Eager or Farjeon, all right?
Nick
Feb 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
From the 1930s to the 1960s, roughly speaking, there was a golden era of children's literature. Many of the authors were British - E. Nesbit, Arthur Ransome, C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, Mervyn Peake, and so many more -- and some were American (Madeleine L'engle). Barbara Sleigh belongs to this era, and her Carbonel series is a wonderful trilogy of books about the King of the Cats and his adventures with some British children who through various magical means can understand his language. "Carb ...more
Beth Cato
Apr 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: in, 2010, children-s, cats
Long before Harry Potter, the Carbonel series captured that same British magical whimsy. Carbonel and its sequel were among my favorite books at the library when I was about 9-12. Imagine my delight when this book, originally published in 1955, was re-released... followed by two sequels! I didn't even know it was a trilogy. I completed my set, and now I'm reading through them from the beginning.[return][return]Young Rosemary plans on cleaning houses to make her summer break pass by. However, whe ...more
Jimmy
Jul 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This was a raving good time. I loved all of the characters, and it is consistently funny, well-written, and action packed. I love the way she phrases things, and I also love the way she writes dialog. Every character has a unique voice, and most have a funny way of saying things. I'm so glad this is only the first in a series of 3 novels, because I want to read more about Carbonel, Rosemarie and John.

I realize I can't read all the NYRB Classics, so I've a mind to read all the NYRB Children's boo
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Michael Fitzgerald
May 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Very nice ordinary magic story, but it seemed a little too long. There was the curious idea of not describing things by saying, "I'm not going to describe this food - just think of the most wonderful meal you can imagine." Quite the opposite of Elizabeth Goudge in The Little White Horse: Collector's Edition where everything gets described in mouthwatering detail.
Melody
May 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
I loved this book and am happy to hear it's back in print. My current cat goes by the sobriquet "Huckle, King of All the Cats" and I knew it came from a book, but couldn't remember... here it is. :-)

***Re-read 05/2009
Carbonel is just as crochety and (shhhh) adorable as I remembered him being. What a wonderful story for cat people everywhere.
Amy
Aug 30, 2012 rated it liked it
B., age 10: I liked it pretty well but I wish the broom could have lived because it was my favorite character. I want to read the other books in the series.

I thought the book was written at a nice pace and featured a good balanced between fantasy and reality. I would have liked it better if Carbonel was a more likable character - but he was really aloof at best and sometimes pretty mean.
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Barbara Sleigh (1906-1982) worked for the BBC Children's Hour and is the author of Carbonel and two sequels: The Kingdom of Carbonel and Carbonel and Calidor.
More about Barbara Sleigh...

Other Books in the Series

Carbonel (3 books)
  • The Kingdom of Carbonel (Carbonel #2)
  • Carbonel and Calidor: Being the Further Adventures of a Royal Cat (Carbonel #3)