Customer Reviews: Mr. Putter & Tabby Pour the Tea
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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars43
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on July 29, 2002
The Mr. Putter and Tabby series are the sort of books that I would have loved to have when I was a beginning reader. I know that I would have read them over and over again to no end, even once they began to fall apart from constant use. That's why I am so glad that Mr. Putter and Tabby are around now while my youngest brother is learning to read. The non-repetitious, non-rhyming storytelling contained within the books makes them a pleasure to read continually, unlike many other easy-reader books. And in my opinion, the Mr. Putter and Tabby books are a step in front of Ms. Rylant's Henry and Mudge collection, due to the fact that, in their own way, they create an appreciation for the elderly as the reader comes to love Mr. Putter, the aging main character whose only companion is his cat, Tabby.
In Mr. Putter and Tabby Pour the Tea, the first book in the series, Mr. Putter comes to know Tabby. During the first chapter, Mr. Putter expresses the feelings of loneliness and the desire for companionship that the elderly so often have. Thereafter, he chooses to adopt a cat, and the story continues to describe the affection they gain towards each other.
Mr. Howard's cartoon-style illustrations greatly enhance this wonderful story, which is written in such a format to be used as either a 3-chapter book for the beginning reader, or a bedtime story that is longer in length, opening into a possible discussion with your child about the significance of friendship in the elderly person's life. Either way, the Mr. Putter and Tabby books would be a great find for emerging readers' shelves. Like having a kindly old grandpa next door, they only make life richer!
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It would be extremely difficult to find a better first reader than any of the twenty some books in the Mr. Putter and Tabby series. It would be even more difficult to find anything to criticize in any of these books. Now I realize that nothing is perfect and if you look long enough and are one of those unfortunate individuals who by nature try to find fault at all cost, you may be able to come up with something, but for the life of me I cannot figure out what it could possibly be.

Briefly, in this offering, we find how Mr. Putter and Tabby got together. Mr. Putter lives alone in a very nice old Victorian house and lives alone. In the morning he enjoys his English Muffins, in the afternoon his tea and in the evening he is bursting with many fine stories to tell. But alas, he has no one to share is muffins, tea or stories with. During the day Mr. Putter putters in his wonderful garden and takes naps in his hammock. He has a rather full life but again, alas...he has no one to share it with.

Mr. Putter decides he wants a cat. He goes to the pet store but finds they have no cats, only kittens who are cute and peppy. Mr. Putter does not want cute and peppy, he wants a can. He is directed to the local shelter where he is assured he will be able to find the cat he is searching for. And indeed he does! Tabby is an old cat and her hair was thinning, her bones creak and she is becoming just a little deaf. As chance would have it Mr. Putter's hair is thinning, his bones creak and he too is becoming a bit deaf! This is a perfect match!

The author, Cynthia Rylant is an absolute master story teller and an absolute master at getting the most mileage out of each word she puts to the page. The syntax is so sparse that it puts one in mind of reading a well written Haiku. A random sampling follows:

He had warm muffins to eat.
He had good tea to pour.
And he had wonderful stories to tell.
Mr. Putter was tired of living alone.
Mr. Putter wanted a cat.

If you read these five lines closely you will find that there is not one word to spare, yet the author has told an entire story here that most of us could easily expand into twenty or thirty single spaced pages and still not be as effective the telling of the story that the author took only 31 words to do.

With this particular addition to the series the author has also touched on three subjects that are quite important. The first is addressing the problem of loneliness. The second, which is a subject near and dear to my heart, is the fact that many, many fine animals are destroyed each year simply because the are not "cute and peppy." Older animals do make wonderful pets and when adopting, people should keep this in mind. Third is another subject to which I feel close and that is the acceptance of elderly people as a vibrant part of our society. Having worked with the elderly for years, I have noted that at a certain age or point in their lives, many older citizens suddenly feel that they become invisible; almost nonexistent. I have heard this complaint many times and now that I am well into the category of "old" I know perfectly well what those people were talking about all those years. Books like this I feel help make the elderly more "human" to the very young.

Last but not least are the illustrations by Arthur Howard. They simply do not get much better for this genre. Done in pencil and water color they are quite detailed, comical, cartoonish, yet quite dignified. Neither the author nor the illustrator has overly anthropomorphized the animals in this or any of the other books and it is quite effective. Each and ever picture fits perfectly with the lean and almost poetic text. This is a good team! I think one of my favorite illustrations here are of Mr. Putter and Tabby singing opera with the phonograph in the evening.

This is a work targeted for the 4-8 age groups but it is a true joy to read at any age.

Don Blankenship
The Ozarks
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on May 24, 2000
With astonishing economy of words, Rylant sketches a life of solitude, then the beauty of companionship, in a way that can be appreciated by a young child, an adult, and everyone in between. All the "Mr. Putter and Tabby" books are good, but this one has an internal narrative power that the others sometimes lack. In effect this is a story of mutual redemption, with a happy ending but (for adults) a poignant aftertaste.
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on August 23, 1999
This story teaches a wonderful lesson about aging and loneliness, as well as adopting animals from shelters. It is done with taste and humor. The illustrations are perfect. My five-year-old was "reading" the book to me within three days!
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on November 7, 2013
My grandchildren love for me to read the Mr. Putter & Tabby stories. This book has three chapters (stories), Mr. Putter, Tabby, and Mr. Putter and Tabby. All are cute, short adventures with silly illustrations that the little ones love. Good book to have for the beginning reader, too. Simple and entertaining.
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on August 13, 1996
I came across Mr. Putter and Tabby Pour the Tea recently when visiting the wonderful Rosetree Cottage tearoom and gift shop in Pasadena, California. I purchased it as a treat for myself and wish I now had copies for my friends. It's a small book, simple to read with nice illustrations. It's a collector's item for catlovers and tea enthusiasts alike. It tells the story of elderly Mr. Putter living alone and wishing he had a cat as a companion. He searches for and finds an older cat with similar qualities as himself. He chooses and takes home this tabby and they become close friends and companions enjoying each other's company including having tea together
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on July 14, 2015
I read this to my daughter and am now reading to my granddaughter. They have updated the pictures. It's such a lovely book. I appreciate that it addresses Mr. Putter and Tabby being old but they can still have a good time together. We were older parents who didn't look like the other parents in my child's class and now grandparents.
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on May 18, 2014
I may have written other reviews for this book--since I have purchased multiple copies. It is the most delightful story imaginable, Mr. Putter & Tabby Pour the Teaabout the life of an aging fellow who finds a friend in an aging cat who also needs a home. I HIGHLY recommend the Mr. Putter stories, and I think Mr Putter and Tabby Pour the tea is The Best.
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on February 5, 2013
This is a really sweet story...
Mr. Putter is old and lonely and needs a furry friend...
He finds Tabby at a shelter who is also old and lonely and finds a friend in Mr. Putter.
A delightful, warm story that explains how Mr. Putter & Tabby started.

What "I" love is that Cynthia Rylant has quite a knack for writing children's books.
Her books are so engaging.
My daughter (6) LOVES reading her books...
Not only are her stories magnificent but the artwork is always so crisp, colorful and refreshing...adding so much to the story.

Highly recommend this or any of the other Mr. Putter & Tabby books in the series.
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on February 11, 2012
What a beautiful story. Friendship, companionship and love are concepts that can't be shared with children too many times. I'm a reading teacher and have used this book over and over with my students. It sparks thoughtful discussions. I also bought this book for my grandkids who have read it over and over. There are many sequels that are quite funny, but the overarching theme is still there - loving and caring.
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