"In the beginning," Foudini M. Cat explains, "I was not a housecat. I was born in a wall." This wise old cat tells his life story for the edification of Grace, a young cat new to the fold. His story includes an explanation of the behavior of his Assigned Persons, whom he calls "Warm" and "Pest"; the tolerance that evolves into love for "his" dog Sam; and charming memories of his orphaned kittenhood. Treated to fine feline philosophy, we learn that Foudini considers cats' reputations for aloofness and vanity completely undeserved: "what we ought to be celebrated for is our ability to exist alone and to dream." In his dreams Foudini visits cats of the rich and famous--Cleopatra and Sigmund Freud--and applies (with sometimes comic, sometime positive results) their advice. All this he tries to impart with generosity and warmth to Grace, who is, alas, "demented with youth." Though easily distracted, far more interested in catnip or naps in pooled sunlight, Grace does manage from time to time to talk back or pay attention.
Susan Fromberg Schaeffer, author of 10 previous novels and a National Book Award nominee, has created an endearing narrative voice--refreshingly unsentimental and completely charming.
From School Library Journal
YA?A fast, easy-to-read novel. Foudini, a proud but not pompous feline, narrates his life story for Grace the Cat so that she might learn from his knowledge and experiences. His musings include everything from philosophy and Flying Feathered Feasts to the manipulation of Warm and Pest, their owners. The description of the relationship between Foudini and a dog is particularly touching as he moves from enemy to beloved friend. The story is realistic, correctly portraying the life of a pampered cat. Schaeffer's imagination is further shown as Foudini learns ancient cat wisdom from the ghost cats of Freud and Cleopatra. This novel should be shared with creative writing teachers as it could motivate students to describe their own pets. While not a first purchase, this is a gentle, touching book that's suitable for all pet lovers.?Claudia Moore, W. T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA
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