I read Millions of Cats, by Wanda Gág, three times today. Several months ago, it was my toddler’s favorite book, but we haven’t read it recently. My daughter brought me the book for today’s third reading, and said “We haven’t read this book in a long time!” (This phrase, like many others she says, are echoes of things my husband and I say to her, but I still find it charming.)
The book, recommended to me by Jim Krusoe, is wonderful. A lonely old man goes out in search of a cat for his lonely old wife, finds a hill full of them, and can’t decide which is best, so brings them all home. The cats are thirsty and hungry, and subsequently devour a pond and hills full of grass on their way. Once back at the homestead, the cats start a huge rumble because each thinks it’s prettiest, and the old man and woman take cover. Once things are quiet again, only one scraggly waif remains–saved because no one bothered about it. The couple assumes all the other cats ate each other. (My husband assumes the little waif ate them all.) The old man and woman adopt the waif, bathe and feed it, and by the end of the book, it’s healthy and charming, and the couple is no longer lonely.
The illustrations are amazing.
According to the Wikipedia entry, Wanda Gág sounds like she would have been interesting to know.
“She eventually received a scholarship to study art in St. Paul. She supported her younger siblings as best she could by sending money home, but underwent great conflict over the choice between pursuing her creativity (what she called her “Myself”) or becoming a commercial artist.”
Her “Myself.” Too often, I ignore my “Myself.”
Soon, I need to find my Myself a pond to drink dry, and hills of grass to devour.