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I had a constant influx and outflow of pets in my life as a kid. I had the usual short-lived carnival goldfish, the token hamster or two, some small worried looking white mice. But mostly, there were cats (no wonder the mice looked worried). My first memories are of cats. Cats curled by my neck, my side, on my belly, pouncing on my ballet bun (my hair in a topknot was very similar in size and texture to a mouse). Cats weaving through my ankles, curled in my trumpet case, sprawling across my homework giving themselves a long bath. When we didn't seek out cats they would seemingly seek us out.
Our first cat was Andrew---a big, white, long-haired, rubbery-limbed kitty, who was so relaxed you could pick him up and cart him around the neighborhood or, if the mood struck you, dress him up in doll clothes. He fell in love with the lady cat next door and started spending all his time with her. When the neighbors moved we gave Andrew to them because we felt it would be cruel to separate such a devoted couple. We grieved but only for a moment because within a week we found a pair of almost newborn stray kittens in the wastebasket in our garage. The boy kitty had ABC (already-been-chewed) gum stuck to his fur. We carefully removed the gum with tiny manicure scissors and promptly named him Blackie and his spotty sister, Callie. I could happily tell you all kinds of intricate details about Callie and Blackie and Every Cat We Ever Owned (at one point we had ten, granted, nine of them were kittens), but I won't. I will mention that when you have ten cats, nine of whom are kittens, they sort of “flock”. The ten of them, at times, moved as one entity, like a roly-poly, frolicking, fuzzy herd. I will also mention that the cat I had the longest and strongest bond with was named Jessica aka Jessie. A boy in my third-grade class brought kittens to school one day and the moment I saw her I knew she was mine and brought her home without asking my mother. It was the boy who suggested I name her Jessica; "That's my ex-girlfriend's name," he said. Initially the question may appear to be: Wasn't it awfully audacious of me to bring home a new kitten without permission? But I believe the deeper and perhaps more compelling question here would be---what was a third grader doing with an ex-girlfriend?
Most of my adult life I've lived in places where pets weren't allowed, so sadly I haven't had a pet to call my own. So I write about them. Pet-sit them. And seem to still, somehow, attract cats. Though solely as visitors nowadays. Every apartment or cottage I’ve lived in seems to come with the requisite curious neighborhood cat,who, on warm days will wander into my place, wind through my legs while I work at the computer. Meow. Sniff. And in some cases, if I’m lucky, let me pick them up and give 'em a scritch.
For instance, in my current place a sleek, talkative kitty named Lenny frequently comes to visit. I like to imagine he’s named after Lenny Bruce because he’s so outspoken. He’s just growing out of adolescence and is frisky, curious, very soft, and occasionally, a wee bit smelly (that’s adolescence for you). Now, as much as I enjoy borrowing neighborhood cats (Lenny's grooming habits are improving all the time) I am determined (not unlike Prudence, the protagonist in my book) to have my very own pet someday. In some ways Prudence Wants a Pet is a wish-fulfillment story (it may as well be called Cathleen Wants A Pet). But it's also a story about tenacity and not giving up on dreams. And I dream of kittens (yes, more than one, but definitely not ten) curled up on the small blue blanket at the foot of my bed.
In real life Prudence would probably be viewed as the weird kid with the branch, but in the literary realm she's an imaginative and determined heroine, and audiences will be glad to see her persistence rewarded. (BCCB)
Sweetly illustrated by Stephen Michael King (Leaf), 'Prudence' deftly combines funny and cute, and has a resourceful heroine too. (The New York Times Book Review)
In her first picture book, Daly (Flirt Club) chronicles Prudence's misplaced affections . . . rife with understated humor . . . . King (Leaf) pictures Prudence's passive-aggressive charade in loose pen-and-ink sequences reminiscent of Quentin Blake's sketch art. (Starred, Publishers Weekly)
A classic theme feels fresh as a squiggling kitten. (Starred, Kirkus Reviews)
I admire this book so much I have adopted it as my pet. I drag it around with me wherever I go, never letting it out of my sight. (Lemony Snicket)
Small pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations on a white background reveal a time progression in vignettes that are spread across the pages. The humorous consequences of Prudence's experiments make this a lighthearted read about never giving up on one's dreams. (School Library Journal)
It's ultimately Daly's dry humor and her wonderfully imaginative and persistent protagonist that elevate this book above typical kiddo-wants-a-pet fare. King's deceptively simple illustrations--spare line drawings punctuated with color--are hilarious, perfectly chronicling the ups and downs of Prudence's endeavors, as well as her emotions. (Horn Book)
Excellent for "interactive" readaloud to promote thinkalouds by teacher on text to self, envisioning, prediction, etc. Totally cute and the primary kids love it.Published 8 months ago by hiking teacher
A book I enjoy reading this book as much as my children. I appreciate the humor infused throughout and the message the story provides. The illustrations are endearing as well.Published 9 months ago by LK
This is a very enjoyable children's driven by its quirky and humorous story of Prudence and her quest for a pet. Read morePublished on May 24, 2013 by Galtwith Norgelson