These are both short, so I am counting them as one entry.
The kid and I have fallen in love with audio books for our driving around town and beyond. We first tackled Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, which we owned. That kept us busy for quite a while. Then we discovered our local library has quite an extensive selection of audio books in the children’s library, so we grabbed a few titles we thought would be fun. She loved Catwings, by Ursula K. Le Guin, when her kindergarten teacher read it to the class, and I’m happy to report that now that she is a big third grader she still loves it, as well as one of its sequels, Wonderful Alexander and the Catwings.
|Mrs. Tabby and her winged kittens
Not only are they both charming books to listen to, but they are read by the author herself, which adds another layer of fun. Catwings features four little city kittens, Thelma, Roger, James, and Harriet, whose loving mother, Mrs. Jane Tabby, sends them out in the world, to the country, away from the harsh and dangerous city. The kittens are unique, in that they have all been born with wings. The neighbors don’t hesitate to speculate, “I suppose their father was a fly-by-night.” Mrs. Tabby, who doesn’t have wings herself guesses, “Maybe they have wings because I dreamed, before they were born, that I could fly away from this neighborhood.”
Kittens having wings can be a convenience, and a boon, but can also prove to be dangerous, as other animals that they encounter are not too thrilled to meet cats that can fly. Catwings is a gentle story, for the most part, full of great imagery, as the cats learn to fly and interact with their new environment. But Le Guin does not shy away from the real dangers of a stray cat’s existence, even one that has wings. A few dangerous and exciting moments are provided by one of the kitten’s interactions with a large owl, but my daughter, although scared for the cats, was also enthralled. It’s a great little book.
The other book was just as fun. In Alexander the Wonderful and the Catwings a ginger kitten named Alexander gets lost in the woods on a winter’s day — a terrifying situation for a little cat. Luckily he also meets one of the Catwings, and his feline life will never be the same.
These books are definitely geared towards children, but they were highly enjoyable for me to listen to as well. Le Guin has wonderful enunciation and connects with each of the characters in her narration. After we listened to the books we had to dig out our hard copy versions, as they have some great illustrations by S. D. Schindler. I was trying to picture them while I listened to the author relate the Catwings’ adventures.
You can read more of my pop culture reviews on my blog, xoxoxo e