Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Macavity: The Mystery Cat by T.S. Eliot, illustrated by Arthur Robbins

It is not often that each poem in a book of poetry is turned into individual picture books. To celebrate the 75th anniversary of Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot, Faber & Faber published a series of individual picture books for each of the cats featured by Eliot. Each cat deserves its own book! Several of the original cats from Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats are illustrated in pen and ink by Arthur Robbins, one among them being Macavity. The feline comes to life on the picture book page at the same time he comes to life on the stage again. 

With the recent revival of Cats on the Broadway stage this summer, these books are the perfect companion piece should you take your child to see the musical.

Macavity is a “mystery cat.” He is the stealthiest cat around, pulling stunts right under the nose of the law, which is depicted by Robbins as a hound dog with a magnifying glass and a police hat.

 “Macavity, Macavity, there’s no one like Macavity, There never was a cat of such deceitfulness and suavity. He always has an alibi, and one or two to spare: At whatever time the deed took place—Macavity’s not there!"

Page after page, Macavity completes acts of mischief and mystery, all managing to disappear the moment trouble is around—caused by him, of course.

And when the larder’s looted,
         or the jewel-case is rifled,
Or when the milk is missing,
or another Peke’s been stifled,
Or the greenhouse glass is broken,
and the treills past repair—

Ay, there’s the wonder of the thing!

Macavity’s not there!

Children will enjoy spotting Macavity’s tail disappearing around the corner of the page, yelling, “he’s right there!” Robbins’ clever illustration choices brings T.S. Eliot’s Macavity and his mischief to life in a picture book that will children will enjoy reading.

Enjoy this video of Count Arthur Strong reading Macavity: The Mystery Cat 

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