Friday, January 21, 2011

The Outside Cat

We sold our house today.  Signed papers.  Done.  For those of you unfamiliar with our unique living situation, here it is in a nutshell.

Turns out the title company was a block away from a tidy little book shop.  So after we did the deed, we jogged on over to the store.  And for the first time ever, I browsed for books without a budget.  Whatever I wanted went into my basket.  

I'm almost giddy. 

I'll be blogging about my new stash in the weeks to come, but for now I'll share this bit of sweetness.

The Outside Cat
Written by Jane Thayer
Illustrated by Feodor Rojankovsky

I blog about books I experience with the kids.  I don't usually jump on here and blather about a book I've not yet read aloud, but today I'll make an exception.  Tommy's sleeping and Pippi's off in a corner with her Calico Critters, so no one is available for some book time.  And I just can't wait to give you a peek.

Samuel was an outside cat.
He was an outside cat
because he never was allowed inside.
The people in the house were good to Samuel.
They put bits of meat and sometimes
a saucer of milk in the yard for him.
So begins The Outside Cat, a lovely offering by Jane Thayer, author of The Popcorn Dragon and The Blueberry Pie Elf, and Feodor Rojankovsky, illustrator of Over in the Meadow and Frog Went A-Courtin'.

Told through the voice of Samuel, a stray who has attached himself to a benevolent family who feeds him but never lets him inside, The Other Cat reminds me a bit of that other lovely book by Jane Thayer, The Puppy Who Wanted a Boy, in that the story reveals what life for an unwanted animal might be like.

On cold winter days,
when even Samuel's fur coat
could not keep him warm,
he could see the inside cat
sitting snugly at a window looking out.
Samuel spends his days watching the inside cat, a little white ball of fluff who sits in the window, and pondering over the problem of how an outside cat might become an inside cat.  He tries to slip inside behind the postman.  But is promptly put out.  He trys to squeeze in with the delivered laundry.  But receives a gentle nudge from a red pump.
Then one day, a red van stops in front of the house.  Two men get out, ring the bell, and enter the house.  Leaving the door open.

Samuel enters.  He hides beneath a chair lest he be given the boot.  But the chair is whisked away.  He scampers under a table.  Which too is lifted and carried off.  Even the bed, his final refuge, is taken.  Leaving nowhere to hide.

And at last, Samuel has become an inside cat.  And wants nothing more than to again be out.  Finally someone opens the door and Samuel streaks across the porch and hides under a bush.  And watches new tables, new chairs, new beds, lamps, rugs, and fans being carried into the empty house.

Finally, the van drives away.  And promptly, a new car arrives.  With a new family.  Who walk into the house.  And close the door.

A new family.  Without an inside cat.  I wonder, will Samuel finally find a place before the fireplace?  A friendly hand to scratch his back?  A warm patch of sunlight in which to nap?

I'll never tell.


  1. Thanks for sharing. Hurray for selling your house. I love the pics along the side of your blog. What a happy vibrant home life.

  2. Congrats on your house selling! What a big relief and big praise to God! :) Hope you guys are doing well!

  3. My mum use to read this book to me when I was young. I'd borrow it from the school library and usually get in trouble because I'd keep it over due every time. I've been looking for it for years, but I couldn't remember the name of it or the author. I'm very glad you posted this, now I have managed to find it on amazon, so my own copy is on its way.
    Thanks =)