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The Cat Who Came in Off the Roof

The Cat Who Came in Off the Roof

The Cat Who Came in Off the Roof by Annie M.G. Schmidt, translation: David Colmer
(Penguin Books, 2017)

The Cat Who Came in Off the Roof is a glorious, original and funny story. The theme, the openness of the main characters and the choice of words – all of these elements are equally unexpected. As in her other books, Annie Schmidt allows the weak to triumph against authority. In this story, the tetchy, grubby stray cat gets all of the attention and protection and the most powerful man in town gets it in the neck. The Cat Who Came in Off the Roof  is also the book that Annie Schmidt loved best and the one for which she won a Silver Slate Pencil in 1971. It has been translated into many languages and was successfully filmed in 2001.

Pussycat Minoes has become a lady, at least for the main part. Even as a woman, she still has some cat-like traits: she nuzzles up to people, she purrs, hisses, scratches and climbs trees. And that’s where the rather dopey journalist Tibbe first finds her, up a tree!

Tibbe always writes about cats; he’s actually too shy to gather real news for himself. He’s given one more chance by his editor-in-chief – if he can’t quickly produce some real news, then he’ll lose his job. Tibbe next finds the peculiar Miss Minoes in his own kitchen and he gives her shelter – in exchange she passes on news that she finds out from the cats on the roof. Tibbe gets to keep his job! One day the cats discover that Mr Ellemeet, factory manager and beloved local benefactor is actually the villain of the piece. Miss Minoes ensures that Tibbe gets all the information he needs for an exclusive article in the newspaper. But then the whole town turns against him and Tibbe still gets fired, because writing an offensive article about an upstanding member of the community is simply not done. Miss Minoes and the cat news service refuse to put up with this! Justice must prevail and Tibbe must get his job back. Finally, however, Minoes is struck by doubts and hesitations, because although she wants to be a human, her own feline world is still calling to her…


children's books