70. The Talking Cat

The Talking Cat and other stories of French Canada by Natalie Savage Carlson
Illustrated by Roger Duvoisin

Pages: 87
Ages: 5+
Finished: Apr. 1, 2009
First Published: 1952
Genre: children, folklore
Rating: 4/5

Reason for Reading: Read-aloud to my 8yob as part of our myth or tale reading.

First sentence:

Once in another time, my friends, an old woman called Tante Odette lived in Canada.

Comments: The author is an American but she comes from French-Canadian heritage and the stories here have been handed down to her from her mother who heard them from her great-great uncle, Michel Meloche, a coureur de bois. The collection of seven stories would be classified as folklore, they are humorous, often using the device of repetition and silly without going over the top into tall tale territory. This set of stories all take place within one community and the same cast of characters are referenced throughout with different ones taking centre stage each time. Told in a storyteller format one can visualize the action of the story or if reading aloud as I did, end up acting the story out yourself as you read phrases such as "walking la-di-da with her nose in the air just so" or "he lifted one paw this way and the other paw that way". These are stories that you can really get into!

All the stories take place in Canada, are about the French-Canadians themselves and their new heritage they made/were making for themselves. There is even a Loup-Garou story included! A wonderful set of stories, just perfect for reading aloud. The author is a Newbery Honor winner and the illustrator is a Caldecott Medalist, though most widely known for his Petunia the goose books. A great book; worthwhile hunting down a used copy of this out of print treat.


  1. I read The Golden Phoenix the other night based on your review of it. It's nice to read books that are a little closer to home!

  2. Yes, I found this at a book sale and was quite pleased with the find.


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