post written by Emma Filbrun
Title: Oscar, Cat-About-Town
Author: James Herriot
Major Themes: Animals, Cats, England
Synopsis: When the Herriots adopt a stray cat, they learn that the cat loves to be with people.
I love James Herriot’s books for children! I remember discovering them at our local library in Michigan back in the 1980s, when my little brothers were the right age for them. Ever since, I have loved the warm, detailed pictures portraying people and animals in Yorkshire, England, and the delightful tales he tells. Oscar, Cat-About-Town is no exception. I read it to my little children today, and all three loved it. The one-year-old kept yelling, “Kitty! Kitty!” as she tried to get the book away from me!
As a vet, the author is in the position to rescue animals at times. At the beginning of this story, a girl brings a very thin, starving cat into the waiting room. He takes the cat to his own home while it recovers, and his wife falls in love with it. They name the cat Oscar, and he becomes part of the family—but one night he disappears! After searching all through town, they find him at a ladies’ meeting. Soon they discover that he is a socialite, and when he disappears they are sure to find him at some social gathering. But one day, his real owners show up.
Almost all young children will love this story. The very realistic paintings are a large part of the appeal, but the lovely story is wonderful, too.