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Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S.…

Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats (1939)

by T. S. Eliot

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
This was one of those interesting yard sale finds when I was in high school that talked to my reading heart and never let it go. Whether I had read of T.S. Eliot's works before coming upon this book I don't remember but whenever I hear his name this is what I start thinking about.

Where to start on the praises of this book? First of all the majority of the poems are rhyming with an almost musical quality to it. To keep the reading flowing the wording is easy to understand and follow along.

Furthermore for the cat-lover and to those who know a cat T.S. Eliot has done a wonderful job in capturing their essence. His characters are strong, individualistic and with zany quirks all too real to a home of a cat(s) while his poem "The Ad-dressing of Cats" reminds the reader this was one person who knew his cats. ( )
  flamingrosedrakon | Aug 26, 2015 |
My dad bought me this book for my tenth birthday. This was sometime before Andrew Lloyd Webber brought out the musical 'Cats' which is based on it. I found it fun and absorbing. I was least keen on the trouble-making cats. The cats I like best are the old, mysterious ones, the old gumbie cat, who sleeps all day and performs good deeds at night, old Deuteronomy, Mr Mistoffeles and Gus, the theatre cat. ( )
  AmiloFinn | Jun 14, 2015 |
What a delightful little book! These poems are meant to be read aloud, so I read them to my cat, and she seemed to enjoy them. I learned several new words - terpsichorean, prestidigitation, legerdemain. I got this book from my grandmother's library after she passed away, and it reminded me of her. I remember when she told me she discovered the word "prestidigitation," probably from this very book. There's a bit of casual 1930s-style racism in a couple of the poems, so I deduct one star. ( )
  brleach | Jan 26, 2015 |
I've always wanted to read the work that inspired Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical. I enjoyed the various personalities of the cats, and I think Eliot's writing and rhyme scheme are easier to follow in an illustrated poem such as this one in contrast with "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" which my students study. This could be a great work to supplement our study of that poem and/or introduce Eliot in a more enjoyable, more tangible way. Any animal lover can appreciate cats' interesting tendencies! ( )
  jcarroll12 | Jul 16, 2014 |
Eliot's collection of fanciful cat poems were dedicated to his god children, but can be appreciated by all children and adults. The fifteen poems are a paean to the mystique of the feline class. The first one is about the three names of a cat: their public name, the unique name that their family calls them and that can belong to only one cat, and the final secret name that only the cat knows. The initial poem is a great preface to the book, setting up the idea of multiple levels to a cat's identity, their inner nature, and their humanesque qualities. The following poems detail the adventures of specific cats, according to their second, individualized, names. For example, the Rum Tum Tugger is a curious cat who always does the contrary of what everyone else wants. Jellicle cats may nap during the day, but only to save energy for their dance by moonlight. Mr. Mistoffelees is magic, and Growltiger was the terror of the seas before his ambush and destruction.

Each poem has its own structure, with varying rhyme schemes, beats, and stanza lengths. Yet they all have a strong lyrical pull that demands to be read aloud. Eliot uses masterful language to create accessible and endearing poems. Part of the fun in the book is discovering the thinly veiled human characters that lurk behind these colorful cats; while the references are clear, Eliot always brings in those unique cat touches to remind us that, after all, these are cats with essential feline natures. Even without drawing parallels between cats and people, the poems are quite delightful. Aside from the touch of racism - which is disappointing, and unacceptable, though I am not surprised considering the time period when his poems were composed - each poem is a light-hearted treat. I don't read enough poetry, and my analytic skills in that genre are quite unformed. Nonetheless, I do enjoy reading it. I can see that this collection of smaller poems is lighter fare than Eliot's other work, and that it still conveys a writer skilled in his craft. This book is a soft introduction to an acclaimed poet, and a nice way to while away an afternoon. ( )
  nmhale | Jul 4, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (18 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Eliot, T. S.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bentley, NicolasIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gorey, EdwardIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hallqvist, Britt G.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Scheffler, AlexIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This Book is respectfully dedicated to those friends who have assisted its composition by their encouragement, criticism and suggestions: and in particular to Mr. T. E. Faber, Miss Alison Tandy, Miss Susan Wolcott, Miss Susanna Morley, and the Man in White Spats.

O. P.
First words
The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn't just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I'm as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This is a work by T.S. Eliot.  Please do not combine with the Diary-Calendar of the same name.  Thank you!
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0151686564, Hardcover)

Eliot’s famous collection of nonsense verse about cats-the inspiration for the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Cats. This edition features pen-and-ink drolleries by Edward Gorey throughout.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:50 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

These playful verses by a celebrated poet have delighted readers and cat lovers around the world ever since they were gathered for publication in 1939. As Valerie Eliot has pointed out, there are a number of references to cats in T.S. Eliot's work, but it was to his godchildren, particularly Tom Faber and Alison Tandy, in the 1930s, that he first revealed himself as "Old Possum" and for whom he composed his poems.… (more)

» see all 10 descriptions

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