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Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats Hardcover – Illustrated, August 30, 1982
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This is an absolutely marvelous rendition of Eliot's poetic classic, written for his godchildren and friends in the 1930s, which inspired the Broadway musical Cats. The tales of Mr. Mistoffelees the trickmaster, old Deuteronomy, a laid-back cat, Rum Tum Tugger, a contrary cat, and Macavity, the famous master criminal, are dramatized by Richard Briers, Alan Cumming, Nigel Davenport, Andrew Sachs, and Juliet Stevenson. Unfortunately, some material is repeated on the cassette's second side. Moreover, it comes with another tape that consists of excerpts of forthcoming Penguin audiobooks. This edition seems targeted more toward consumers than libraries.?James Dudley, Copiague, N.Y. (Library Journal)
From the Back Cover
Mr. T.S. Eliot intimate friends received from time to time typewritten verses which were apparently anonymous but which were always identifiable. The poems which concern cats are presented here.
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Random fact: If you ever watch "Logan's Run", one of the characters in the movie quotes this book (also cited at the credits at the end).
It is amazing how little had to be done to turn these poems into a great musical comedy. I am, of course, talking about Cats. Most of the poems went directly into the show without any change whatever in their wording, and only three songs were added. Let's give full credit to Mr. Webber, It took a musical genius to do that, and one of the added songs, Memories, could stand alone as a masterpiece in any company, but most of the delight of the show comes from the wonderful feline characters created in this book.
Jennyanydots, Old Deuteronomy, Gus the theatre cat, Spindleshanks, Bustipher Brown, McCavity, Mr. Mistofflees, Mungo Jerry, and Rumpleteaser all moved effortlessly from page to stage with no changes. That has to be some sort of record. If you loved Cats (the show) you need to read this book. If you love cats (the critters) you'll want to read this book. If you like poetry, you should read this book. If you like dogs, read the battle of the Pekes and the Pollicles. (You can skip over the part about the intervention of the great rumpus cat.)
It was written for his godchildren, but it's a great read for everyone. It's not expensive, so get it to read to your children, but read it for yourself first.