Puss in Books by Catherine Britton (2012)

I feel spoilt because I have received more than one great pre-Christmas book present from editors. One of them is Puss in Books, published by The British Library Publishing.

Catherine Britton’s richly illustrated book contains numerous examples of cats in books. It mentions  nursery rhymes, children’s books, novels and many other sources.  I thought I’ll write about it quickly as the one or the other may still be looking for a bookish present for a cat lover or anyone interested in cats in books.

The book as such is nice, with glossy paper and intense color illustrations.

Some of the earliest illustrations date back to the Egyptians but you can also find an illustration from Rudyard Kipling’s The Cat that Walked by Himself or of the Cheshire Cat, taken from Alice in Wonderland.

Fat Fredd’y s Cat has a chapter as well as Simon’s Cat and Splat the Cat.

One of the pictures I like the most is an engraving by Cornelis Vissher called The Large Cat from 1657.

As the blurb says the book is “a celebration of the feline wit, intelligence, aloofness and charm as presented in books, with examples from literature, folklore and popular culture.”

The book contains more than illustrations, it also offers a lot of information about the history of cats and how different cultures and societies saw them. It spans cultures as different as Egypt, England and Japan.

22 thoughts on “Puss in Books by Catherine Britton (2012)

    • It’s a relatively slim book but they have a very nice other one too, with more texts. I like the illustrations very much, the old engravings are great.
      I was extremely pleased when i got it. It’s the type of book you rarely buy for yourself but really like.

  1. This book seems to be an interesting read. I believe cats live in a world of their own in which they don’t allow human beings : )

  2. Darn it, I wish I’d seen this recommendation before I bought a present for a little girl of my acquaintance–she follows me (or can any true cat lover be said to follow anyone else, when like cats they’re independent?) in her love of cats. But I’ve already spent my alloted amount now. Oh, well, maybe for her birthday in February….

    • Maybe it’s better that way. To be honest, I’m not sure this is a book for children. It depnds on how old she is. She would certainly enjoy the pictures and could read it when she is older.

  3. This looks like a beautiful book, Caroline. Thanks for telling us about it. It will definitely make a wonderful Christmas present. I love that engraving by Cornelis Vissher – so beautiful! Does the book say anything about Paul Gallico’s cat novel ‘Thomasina’?

    • I don’t seem to remember Gallico being mentioned. I think there are much more older examples. I’m not sure but I think Britton is a historian which would explain why.
      That engraving is amazing. So much detail. I’ve been browsing it and looking at tne pictures but will have to read it properly as well.

  4. How wonderful. This is an excellent idea for Christmas–next year though. I just finished my shopping and don’t want to think about it again for a few months. Why do we make the holidays so stressful? Well at least I do. Happy holidays Caroline and give your kitties a hug for me.

  5. Oh love this – I will have to look out for it! I’m a cat fan and feel sure I would adore the gorgeous illustrations. You don’t say much about the prose part of the book – is it good? Not too dry?

    • I must admit, I only read bits here and there, not from beginning to the end. It’s not too dry as the chapters a very short, just a few pages which means there is a lot of variety. It’s a pretty book.

  6. I remember reading a review of this book in one of my turtles’ blogger friends. I would love to read it too.

    Have I told you that my Kroten is in a self-published book? I am still waiting for the book to arrive here. She is the only turtle in the book, there are 2 cats and the rest are dogs

  7. Hey, I’ve seen a book like this in French! A collection of stories featuring cats. I thought about you when I saw it in the book store.

    This one looks great, with excellent pictures.

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