Dick Whittington and His Cat

by Marcia Brown

Other authorsMarcia Brown (Illustrator)
Hardcover, 1988



Call number




Atheneum Books for Young Readers (1988), Edition: 9th, 32 pages


A retelling of the legend about a boy who became mayor of London, who heard his future in the Bells of Bow and made his fortune through his cat.

User reviews

LibraryThing member LaceyM
This book was my mother's when she was young and then my sisters and was then read to me. It tells of determination and how working for a dream will pay off in the end.
LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
Selected as a Caldecott Honor Book in 1951 - one of six books by Marcia Brown, who also won the Caldecott Medal twice, to be so honored - Dick Whittington and His Cat is an engaging retelling of the classic English folktale, in which a poor young boy comes to London, finds employment as a lowly
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kitchen-worker in the home of a wealthy merchant, and through the rat-catching skill of his cat, makes a fortune. Brown's retelling, based - according to the dust-jacket blurb - on "original sources," includes all the traditional elements of the story, from the kindness of Mr. Fitzwarren the merchant, and his daughter Miss Alice, to the abusive cook, and the incident with the Bow Bells.

There was a historical Richard Whittington, who, like our hero, became Lord Mayor of London, but there is no record of his ever having had a cat, and he certainly did not come from an impoverished background. One wonders whether this tale, which, save for the name and occupation of its hero, is a complete fantasy, were somehow intended - whether consciously or not - as a kind of talisman of hope for the poor and downtrodden, a sign that their station in life was not immutable. Isn't that one of the functions of all such "poor boy/girl makes good" tales? In any case, Brown's picture-book is a success, with an entertaining narrative, and eye-catching linoleum-cut illustrations.
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LibraryThing member pussreboots
My son loves cats. A couple weeks ago we found a whole bunch of childrens books about cats at the library that were being discarded. We liked this one for the bold illustrations.
LibraryThing member Cheryl_in_CC_NV
recommended by Lisa Vegan, and Gundula, indirectly, for Marcia Brown's ability to retell folk tales with clarity and warmth
Read. ?�The woodcuts are delightful and do help tell the story and show the characters. ?áI've always wondered, though, what the Moorish king
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will do with just one cat, no breeding stock. ?áAnd besides, did they really not have cats, or terriers, or such?
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Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

10 inches


0684189984 / 9780684189987
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