Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Whittington by Alan Armstrong

I am never sure if I like books where animals can talk like humans and can also talk to humans but I do like books that weave fairy tales and folk lore into their narrative so I came to the reading of Whittington by Alan Armstrong with mixed expectations.

As usual the presence of a Newberry sticker on the front cover was a great enticement to read this book. I won’t say it will make my top 10 list or even my top 100 list but I did enjoy this book. Armstrong takes the story of Dick Whittington and his cat and adds new details to the story so we can come to know this modern cat called Whittington who is an ancestor of the original (unnamed) cat.

While the story did catch my imagination I am puzzled why it was awarded a Newberry honour. The characters – human and animal are very thin and many of the events in the barn I found quite contrived.

If you like animals especially cats and ducks and have a little familiarity with the story of Dick Whittington and his cat this junior novel might appeal.

You can read more of the plot at

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