Its Like This, Cat
by Emily Neville
The 1964 winner of the Newbery Medal is a loose, light-hearted story that shows us a slice out of an ordinary kids life in
Manhattan in the 1960s. Written in the present tense and first person singular, it seems to capture effortlessly the way of
speaking of a city youth at a point in his life when many changes are taking place.
One big change in Dave Mitchells life--the one that sets everything in motion, really--is when he adopts a stray tomcat and
names it, well, Cat. His friendship with Cat sees him through a sea of changes in his relationship with his parents, his
first friendship with a girl, and a change of schools and of best friends. And while there is no natural idyll, exotic
culture or quaint historic setting in this story, it is neat to see city life through a kids eyes and enjoy the many things
it has to offer.
Dont get me wrong, some serious stuff does happen in Daves world. The Mrs. Figg-like neighbor lady (you know, batty and
cat-loving) goes through a personal crisis. A slightly older boy with a troubled background prompts Dave to rethink his
resentful attitude toward his blustery, lawyer father. And a hair-raising adventure follows when first Cat, then Dave, dive
out of the family car in the middle of a Parkway.
Readers who loved Eleanor Estes Pinky Pye will enjoy graduating up to this somewhat more mature story. It isnt high
drama or the great American novel, but it is charming and lifelike, and it leaves you feeling good.
Recommended Age: 12+
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