"My father is always talking about how a dog can be very educational for a boy. This is one reason I got a cat."
Dave Mitchell and his father yell at each other a lot, and whenever the fighting starts, Dave's mother gets an asthma attack. That's when Dave storms out of the house. Then Dave finds Cat, a stray, and adopts him. On his outings with Cat, Dave meets new friends and learns a lot about himself and his father. Winner of the 1964 Newbery Medal.
paper clip out of his pocket and opens it out, and I think maybe he has a penknife, too, and next thing I know the padlock is open.
"Gee, how'd you do that?"
"Sh-h-h. A guy showed me how. You better get your cat and scram."
Golly, I wonder, maybe the guy is a burglar, and that gives me another creepy feeling. But would a burglar be taking time out to get a kid's cat free?
"Well, thanks for the cat. See you around," I say.
"Sh-h-h. I don't live around here. Hurry up, before we both get caught."
Maybe he's a real burglar with a gun, even, I think, and by the time I dodge past the elevators and get out in the cold April wind, the sweat down my back is freezing. I give Cat a long lecture on staying out of basements. After all, I can't count on having a burglar handy to get him out every time.
Back home we put some nice jailhouse blues on the record player, and we both stretch out on the bed to think. The guy didn't really look like a burglar. And he didn't
I read this novel when I was in 6th grade and I was very much aware that its themes were more mature and real-world than the sports books that made up most of my reading. This book really helped turn me into a more discerning reader, and even at that early age, I could start to evaluate a work and appreciate it for its stylistic choices. The New York City setting was fascinatingly vivid to me and the first glimmerings of attraction to girls conicided with my own phase.
I teach English now and I would be curious to see how the book holds up today.
Growing up in New York in the early 1960s, 14-year-old Dave Mitchell ponders the nature of family relationships while wandering around the city with his cat.
A delightful coming-of-age story, it's not at all dated, apart from occasionally jarring period references to things like air conditioning (not universal in the '60s), transistor radios and Harry Belafonte. More introspective than action-oriented, it ends somewhat abruptly -- the biggest flaw.
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