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The Curious Demise of a Contrary Cat Hardcover – August 1, 2006

4.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 2–As Witch prepares for and hosts a party for ghosts, trolls, bats, spooks, and sprites, she asks Cat to fetch things to assist her. But the contrary feline is too busy chasing guests to help. The rhythmic text echoes Witch's plaintive requests and Cat's upturned-nose refusal ('Cat?' said Witch./'Purr?' said Cat./'Chair!' said Witch./'GRRRRR,' said Cat./And that was the end of that). Finally, at the end of the night and of her wits, she conjures up a last spell that needs a toad. When the feline won't fetch one, its final GRRR ends up as rribbit? Rendered with simple lines and crosshatched patterns, the black-and-white pen-and-ink illustrations convey plenty of action and humor. The pictures are full of small details, and the gently spooky characters are loaded with personality. Children will appreciate the tale's amusing predictability and will love chiming in with Witch and Cat as a call-and-response. A perfect choice for Halloween and for group sharing.–Marge Loch-Wouters, Menasha Public Library, WI
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

It's a "pale gray night with a bright full moon," and Witch is throwing a party. In spite of Cat's shenanigans, a good time is had by all, the guests being an appropriately strange, but not too scary, assortment of well-dressed skeletons, ghouls, and similar beings. Cat responds to each of Witch's requests for help with a "GRRRRR." This continues after the party ends, until Witch realizes that she needs a toad for one last spell, and "GRRRR" becomes a "GRRR--rribbit,"--"and THAT was the end of Cat." The book design and the detailed pen-and-ink cartoon-style illustrations are reminiscent of the work of Edward Gorey, and they have just the right element of wackiness to fit the tone of the text. The repetition used in the text will make this a popular read-aloud, and the limited vocabulary puts the story within reach of beginning readers. Although the book has all the trappings of Halloween, that holiday isn't specifically mentioned, which will make this a delightful year-round read. Randall Enos
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; First Edition; First Impression edition (August 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416902112
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416902119
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,951,343 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
Lynne Berry, The Curious Demise of a Contrary Cat (Simon and Schuster, 2006)

There are good kids' books, and there are good kids' books. Lynne Berry writes good kids' books, the kind that will both entertain the little ones and fill their adults with a kind of twisted glee that such things with the power to warp and traumatize young minds exist.

Witch decides to have a party, and she wants Cat to help her with various tasks. Cat, of course, is contrary (drat that cat!), and gets more and more aggressively annoying as the story goes on until... well, I read Lynne Berry's first kids' book, Duck Skates, after reading this one. My wife was confused at my disappointed look, and even more so when I said, "well, jeez, no one gets turned into a frog in this one!"

Berry has crafted a minor gem here, telling a story in a pattern of verse that gets surprisingly complex (for a book aimed at the preschool set, anyway) at times, and managing to pack an actual rich, multi-layered story into a very few pages. As good as Berry's lovely verse-- maybe even better-- is Luke LaMarca's gift for illustration. The pictures in the book go so well with the text that it's hard to believe two people were responsible for this tome. It's a grand pairing, and I hope it continues long into the future. ****
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Format: Paperback
A contrary cat. Is there any other kind? Lynne Berry has captured cat-ness in a few swift words and combined this "moi" essence with a frustrated witch trying to have a party for her ghoulish, ghostly, spritely friends and getting no help at all from that dratted cat. Who wins? Luke LaMarca's illustrations are incredible. They'll get this book flying off the shelves. But it's Lynne Berry's brilliance that once again triumphs--creating characters and conflicts that keep you coming back again and again. And satisfied every single time.
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By Casimom on September 28, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this story after checking it out of the local library. It was intended as a gift for my father, a big cat fan. It kept hanging around my house, being read repeatedly to, and with, my 8 year-old daughter. I finally gave the book to my Dad, much to the disappointment of my daughter. I will be looking for another copy on Amazon in the near future. Great rythmic, repetitive text, fantastic pictures, and a fun ending.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read this to my two year old twins. There is lots of action in the pictures so even though they don't understand the moral to the story it always entertains them. I skip pages as it is too long for them but someday soon we'll read it all the way through. You have to love the end. The illustrations are great. I bought this one as a gift for a friend with a 3 & 5 year old.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Nice book for kids!
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