REVIEW: The Cat Who Came in off the Roof by Annie M. G. Schmidt
The Cat Who Came in off the Roof is a charming story about an unusual young woman named Minou who’s terrified of dogs, can climb trees and rooftops with elegance and ease and happens to be in love with the local fishmonger. Minou befriends a struggling reporter named Mr Tibble after he rescues her from an angry dog. Minou learns that Tibble is close to losing his job on account of only writing articles about cats.
But Tibble’s luck is dramatically changed for the better when he finds out that Minou’s strange and strongly feline traits are due to the fact that she used to be a cat! Minou is able to call upon the local feline community to source the best, undercover news from what they overhear their ‘humans’ gossip about and a wonderfully original tale about friendship and of course, cats unfolds.
In The Cat Who Came in off the Roof, Annie M. G. Schmidt skilfully captures what children and adults alike find so fascinating about cats; their individual and often humanlike personalities. Cats have adapted well to living with humans and the fact that they are not able to speak does not stop them from being able to communicate with us.
The fantasy world of anthropomorphised cats that Schmidt creates in this story is very well executed and as a result it feels perfectly normal and believable that Minou was once a cat; it doesn’t get in the way of the story as I thought at first it might. Although Schmidt is regarded The Queen of Dutch Children’s Literature this magical story can be enjoyed by cat-lovers of any age and is a must-read for anyone who has ever found themselves politely addressing a question to their cat. I know I have!
The Cat Who Came in off the Roof was written by award winning Dutch children’s author Annie M. G. Schmidt (1911- 1995). Translated by David Colmer and published as part of Pushkin Children’s collection of tales for young readers from around the world.
Published 3rd July, Paperback £7.99