Manybooks’s review of Millions of Cats > Likes and Comments

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Krista the Krazy Kataloguer Gundula, you bring out points about the symbolism in the book that I hadn't thought of! Although I don't think any of it would occur to kids. As to the illustrations, the book was originally published in 1928, when both that style and black-and-white illustrations were common in children's books. I must admit, I'm not wild about the illustrations myself, but I do love cats, and lots of them, which is what attracts me to the book. Given your review, however, I'll have to take another look at it.


message 2: by Manybooks (last edited May 27, 2010 07:04AM) (new)

Manybooks I was actually debating giving it 4 stars, I was vacillating between 3 and 4 stars (3.5 would have been my choice). About the symbolism, probably you are right that it might not occur to kids, but I think we often give children far too little credit, they are often very, very perceptive. Also, there are many children's books that can be read and understood on different levels, and even if a child (or an adult for that matter) might not see what I see, the story (stories) can still be enjoyed and appreciated.


Krista the Krazy Kataloguer Agreed. And, though children may not be conscious of some of the symbolism or implications in a story, it may leave an unconscious impression on them. Perhaps the best children's literature is that which can be read on multiple levels.


message 4: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks Krista the Krazy Kataloguer wrote: "Agreed. And, though children may not be conscious of some of the symbolism or implications in a story, it may leave an unconscious impression on them. Perhaps the best children's literature is th..."

I would agree with that, also due to the fact that then, both children and adults will most likely enjoy the book(s), making reading together with children even more enjoyable and likely.


message 5: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan Gundula, I really like your thoughts about this one. Perhaps all those homeless cats were what got to me the most but that thought hadn't fully coalesced in my mind.


message 6: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks Lisa wrote: "Gundula, I really like your thoughts about this one. Perhaps all those homeless cats were what got to me the most but that thought hadn't fully coalesced in my mind."

Well, actually that was probably the main reason I thought that the book was about irresponsibility, the fact that all those poor little cats were homeless with not enough food or water, and that in the end, the old couple did not really help the cats at all, but basically abandoned them (just like they were probably originally abandoned, as pets who have outlived their supposed "usefulness"). In many ways, the old couple did not really deserve a cat at all, but I was happy for the remaining cat, although the fate of the others did pain me.


message 7: by Ronyell (new)

Ronyell Gundula, I never thought about the theme of irresponsibility of the humans until you brought it up! Now, I agree that the old man was a bit irresponsible in not thinking about how he was going to feed the cats, instead of bringing millions of cats with him, although I did find the story very intriguing to read. But, I do agree with you about how the old man should have thought about how he was going to take care of all those cats instead of trying to bring all of them with him. Also, I did think that the old couple should have come up with a better solution to choose which cat they wanted instead of letting them fight it out and eat each other up that way, no one would have gotten hurt.


message 8: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks Abigail wrote: "A thoughtful review, Gundula. Like you, I had trouble seeing this as an allegory about vanity. Your idea that it might be intended as an allegory about responsibility is intriguing, although I susp..."

Isn't that amazing, it just shows how much children's literature has to offer and how ideas etc. change over time. The thing is, Gag might not have ever intended the tale to be seen as an allegory or as a cautionary tale, but that is the beauty of texts, what each reader brings to them and what each reader gets out of them. And, although I have never been a fan of absolute reader response theory (as that completely negates the author of a text), it is certainly true that once a text reaches the readers, many different interpretations etc. can occur, and the intention, or rather the supposed intention of the author is just one of these possibilities.


message 9: by Ronyell (last edited May 29, 2010 11:49AM) (new)

Ronyell It's like what happened with The Lorax Gundula, when many people thought that the book was trying to promote anti-industrialization, even though I personally thought that the book was just trying to promote enviromental awareness and I don't think that Dr. Seuss was purposely saying that industrialization is bad (although I'm not really sure how he felt) but that's an example of how many readers take a simple text from a book and translate it into something beyond the book's content.


message 10: by Kathryn (new)

Kathryn What a wonderful, thoughtful review! As you so astutely point out, it is not only the tragic fate of the cats that is so troubling but the lack of responsibility in the old man and old woman. I really didn't "like" this book for that reason, though I appreciate the cautionary aspect and I did like most of the illustrations.


message 11: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks Kathryn wrote: "What a wonderful, thoughtful review! As you so astutely point out, it is not only the tragic fate of the cats that is so troubling but the lack of responsibility in the old man and old woman. I r..."

I would certainly not call it a favourite, but when one thinks of the time when this book was written, it has quite a modern message (even an environmental message at that).


message 12: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks Abigail wrote: "Argh! I just "unliked" your review by accident, Gundula! Never fear, I've "liked" it again! :)"

I've done that before, ha, ha :-)


message 13: by Laura (new)

Laura M a reminder on the illustrations: this book was originally published in 1928 ... so this is about as sophisticated as the illustrations probably could have been at the time.


message 14: by Laima (new)

Laima Great review, Gundula. I though the two old folks were rather irresponsible and indecisive. This was not an appealing book. I found it kind of creepy actually.


message 15: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks Laima wrote: "Great review, Gundula. I though the two old folks were rather irresponsible and indecisive. This was not an appealing book. I found it kind of creepy actually."

Creepy, but interesting nonetheless (I also wonder if the old couple's lack of responsibility is more obvious to modern readers, who are more sensitive to what kind of environmental damage feral domestic animals can do and the fact that many abandoned domestic animals also end up injured or worse).


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