cover image The Cat Who Came in off the Roof

The Cat Who Came in off the Roof

Annie M.G. Schmidt, trans. from the Dutch by David Colmer, read by Katherine Kellgren. Listening Library, , unabridged, 4 CDs, 4 hrs., $27 ISBN 978-0-14-752099-9

This story is delightfully quirky, with touches of madcap action, and narrator Kellgren is perfectly matched to the tale. Mr. Tibble is a newspaper reporter who only writes about cats. His editor tells Tibble he needs to begin reporting some harder news to keep his job. Enter Minou, a woman who confides in Mr. Tibble that she used to be a cat. After a dog chases Minou up a tree, and Tibble helps her down, Minou begins living in Tibble’s spare room. In exchange for housing, Minou begins a “cat press agency,” enlisting local cats to feed her scoops that Tibble turns into hard-hitting articles. Cats in town overhear all kinds of things; no one ever notices if a cat is in the room while a secret meeting is going on. Kellgren sounds as though she’s having a delightful time. She gives Minou a breathless innocence. Tibble, with his nasal voice, often sounds overwhelmed, and the villains are haughty and speak with tight throats. The cats are a wonderful variety of English accents from Yorkshire to Cockney to upper-crust London. Best of all, Kellgren adds meows and hissing into the mix. The story is wonderfully gentle and silly; even parents will enjoy listening. Ages 10–up. A Delacorte hardcover. (Jan.)