I found Millions of Cats by Wanda Gág (1928) while looking for picture books from different decades for my family picture books assignment (I’d tried to get a book from each decade, and it was the oldest picture book I could find). I don’t really remember reading it as a child, but it looked familiar. According to Wikipedia, it’s the oldest American picture book still in print, and one of the few picture books to win a Newbery Honor. (I still think Newbery Honor is a misleading name… These are the books that are the runners-up for the Newbery Award, but Honor makes them sound better than the ones that actually win the Award… anyway…)
It’s a simple story about an elderly couple that decides to get a cat for companionship. The husband ends up finding millions of cats that are all pretty, but they can’t keep them all. When he makes them choose amongst themselves who is the prettiest of them all, they end up fighting. In the end, it is the cat who thought herself homely who ends up living with the couple.
I found a video on YouTube of Shelley Duvall’s bedtime stories show with James Earl Jones reading the book (♥ his voice):
Shelley Duvall sums up the book by saying that we shouldn’t try to keep more pets than we can handle, but I think the lesson here is to be humble like the pretty cat who doesn’t think she’s pretty. It’s one of those books trying to teach kids a lesson, but the fact that it has millions of cats in it makes it a little silly.
This post is my Blogging from A to Z entry for the letter M.