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Clever Cat Hardcover – August 8, 2000

3.9 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"Every morning Tibs waited by his front door. And waited... And waited... And waited... And waited..." until finally someone notices him and begrudgingly lets him inside, where he has to wait some more before getting his breakfast. Things proceed in this manner for a long time, until finally one day the orange tabby becomes fed up with all this waiting around. Much to his human family's astonishment, he climbs to the cupboard, gets down his own cat food, and opens the can with a can opener. Impressed (and somewhat relieved), the Ford family soon gives Tibs carte blanche around town. He shops with the family credit card, hangs out in cafés, goes to movies, plays tennis--until the Fords get their monthly bank statement. It's time for Tibs to earn his keep. And suddenly, Tibs isn't sure his cleverness is such a boon after all.

Feline fans--especially older ones--will laugh out loud at this not-so-hard-to-believe fantasy. Most cat owners have wondered at times just how helpless Fluffy really is. Peter Collington's adroitness matches that of Tibs, especially in his priceless illustrations of the cat opening his first can, and strolling by the "less gifted" cats on the stoop. (Ages 6 and older) --Emilie Coulter

From Publishers Weekly

Best known for his wordless picture books, Collington (The Angel and the Soldier Boy; The Tooth Fairy) adds a clipped, comical narrative to his meticulously detailed art in this wry volume starring a family cat. One morning, Mrs. Ford finds her pet Tibs a bother and wishes aloud that he could feed himself. Fed up with not being fed, Tibs takes her suggestion to heart and a transformation results. Collington shows him as he rises onto his hind legs, reaches into the cupboard, opens his own can of food and proceeds to eat with a spoon. The Fords proclaim him "a clever cat" and hand him a house key and ATM card so he can buy his own food, too. Tibs's cleverness seems to know no bounds. He dines at an outdoor caf?, shops at a toy store and relaxes in a movie theater. But his carefree lifestyle comes to a halt when the Fords announce that he must find a job to earn his keep. Tibs tries hard to make ends meet but his work suffers and he is fired. The artist creates empathy for the furry fellow throughout his aping of a human existenceAwith expressions to matchAand perfectly captures feline behavior when the hero returns to a cat's life. Collington's droll pictures of this enterprising animal engaged in activities normally reserved for humans will elicit Cheshire grins from readers young and old. All ages. (Aug.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 12
  • Lexile Measure: AD190L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (August 8, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375804773
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375804779
  • Product Dimensions: 11.8 x 8.6 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #165,121 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By L. Marshall on October 1, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I LOVED THIS BOOK! I got a kick out of reading the reviews to this book and had to put in my two cents. I'm convinced that the people who see a deeper negative message in this story must never have owned a cat! There is no 'laziness pays off' theme here, TIBS IS A CAT, PEOPLE! cats ARE lazy, it's their nature to do nothing but snooze in the sunshine. If there is such a message, perhaps it is right!! LAZINESS DOES PAY OFF FOR CATS!!! those (cats, I mean) who don't have to- don't work hard or pay their own way! They are about as narcissistic a creature as there ever was!! That's the joke. They don't "earn their keep", they just go about being cats and doing their cat thing! This book captures their attitude purrrfectly!

THAT SAID, I must admit that I am one of those mothers who tends to be pretty critical of the messages in children's books- many of which get caldecot or other awards! I am perplexed that people rave on about books that promote the superficial values so rampant in our society. Rainbow Fish? Olivia? Madeline?(imagine a differently shaped madeline, "I'm Madeline, I'm Madeline and tho' I'm very LARGE. No, I don't think it would be a big seller.)

Although I love this book, I did only give it 4 stars because I too, felt like the way the Ford family treated their cat was awful. When my three year old says, "but mom, it's not nice to call the cat stupid" I see a problem. Why do author's feel the need to include that kind of dialog in kids books. I know kids will hear it anyway, but why increase their exposure needlessly? It is hard enough to teach kids what is appropriate. We have the talk about, that it not being a nice way to treat anyone or any animal, but the book is written by an adult and read by one (for little kids).
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Format: Hardcover
My 4-year-old daughter and I picked this up at the library, and it had her, my husband, and I all giggling! The pictures are terrific...warm, vivid and very funny. Tibs the cat is so plucky and adorable. I, too...as I noticed some of the previous reviewers pointed out...got pretty upset with Tibs' human family and wondered why they even have a cat if they didn't want to be bothered with the poor thing. In fact, when I read it aloud to my daughter I delete the parts where they call him "stupid", "dumb" etc. It's cruel, and I don't want her thinking it's acceptable to treat animals OR people that way.(Though Tibs' family is pretty harsh with him in general, not to mention neglectful...the only time they seem to show him affection is when he becomes independent.) Tibs gets so fed up with depending on them that he takes things into his own paws and impresses everybody. But he shows them, and who's better than him in the end?
There are different messages (good and not-so-good, obvious and more subtle) that can be picked up from this book. It's all in how you view it. But, why not discuss it with your kids after reading it? I don't think the message is that it's clever to be lazy when things get too stressful and let everyone else take care of you...I think the message is to just be yourself. (After all, did his family THINK he was going to take care of himself to begin with...feed himself, pay for his own food and rent, do his own shopping and wash the dishes? He is, after all, a cat...albeit an extraordinary one. Didn't they expect a bit too much of him...even if he was capable? And why make him work until he drops...they took the darn ATM card away. Give him an allowance! They took him for granted and took advantage of his cleverness.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What a sweet and wonderful book.
Ye, who debate whether to buy it: never mind the other reviewers who didn't like it (and didn't get it at all).
I plan to buy a copy for every member of my much-extended family.
And I promise never to speak a cross word to my cat ever again.
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Format: Hardcover
Mr. Collington's book reflects a refreshing approach to a very critical issue in early childhood development. Today's parents face a confusing set of cultural messages about how their child's early years will effect their later successes in life. This often leads to parent's projecting their busy lives and professional agendas onto their child's world. Giving their children the keys to the front door is too much responsibility and often results in a "survivalist" childrearing lifestyle rather than a protective and nurturing one. I hope that parents learn as much from this experience as the clever cat did.
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Format: Hardcover
I could applaud this book in many ways. It has fine illustrations, a nice pace, and a great deal of humor. But the hatefulness of the human family is really unbearable. All four of them (mom, dad, two kids) refer to the cat in hostile terms. They're just miserable, awful people. I somewhat agree with other critical reviewers that the concluding cleverness--just sleep--is a bit dissatisfying. Not a an awful book, as some would have it, but not one for cat lovers, and not one to read again and again. In short, this is not a book to buy.
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By A Customer on December 29, 2000
Format: Hardcover
For my six year old son's birthday, I bought him Clever Cat, because he is totally devoted to our cat. My son loves the book, he pours over it for hours and talks to our cat about it. When we walk down the street to school, he likes to point out the cats, sleeping or waiting patiently at their doors.
This book has completely captured his imagination and made him view cats in a totally different manner. I recommend this book to any parent who has a child with a cat.
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