The Cat That Walked a Week
post written by Emma Filbrun
Title: The Cat That Walked a Week
Author: Meindert DeJong
Major Themes: Cats, Family Read-Alouds, Animal Stories
Synopsis: When a little boy’s cat was kidnapped and taken far away from home, how could he get back to his little boy again?
I can’t remember when or where I picked up The Cat That Walked a Week. Judging by the address I put inside the front cover, it was likely about 30 years ago. I must have picked it up at a used book sale because I recognized the author. Our copy is a very tattered hardcover that was apparently purchased for a library in 1949. I love old books like this! I’ve read this one to my children several times now, and I love it every time.
A little boy and his all-white cat lived in a tall apartment building. Their apartment was on the 15th floor, just below the roof. The two of them played in the apartment, making noise on the piano and playing hide-and-seek and chasing each other around, until the little boy’s mother got tired of the noise and sent them to the roof to play for awhile. One day, though, they were so wild that she sent the all-white cat to the roof and the little boy to bed. The neighbor woman found the cat on the roof and decided to get rid of the noise from piano-walking. The next thing the cat knew, he was far from the tall apartment building, way out in the deep woods.
How could the cat get back home? He could see the tall apartment building in the morning when the sun came up. That told him which direction to go. But how could he get there? A swamp got in his way…and a herd of thundering horses…and finally a river. Young children love reading about each obstacle and how it was conquered. There are some very funny bits in the story, like the bony old man and the bony old cow, or the fat fisherman who couldn’t keep his mouth shut. (My 5-year-old was pretty worried in that chapter for a few minutes.)
The Cat That Walked a Week is not a totally realistic story, but it is lovely. The all-white cat was driven homeward by his love for his little boy. The neighbors changed their attitude completely. And many helpful people aided the cat on his long journey home. Meindert DeJong is one of my favorite children’s authors. This book is long since out of print, and it appears to be quite difficult to find a copy. If you can find one, though, it’s worth picking up.
Read Aloud—Ages 5 – 8, Family Read Alouds
Reading Independently—Ages 7 – 9, 8 – 12
Keywords: Cats, Family Read-Alouds, Animal Stories