My Mum was a children’s school librarian and she has introduced me to many books, as you can imagine. One of her favourites to read aloud to her students was Millions of Cats.
Upon rereading this book with Devan when he was little, I was thrilled to find an illustration of the very old woman knitting a toe-up sock on what appears to be six dpns. I imagine Wanda Gág, who both wrote and illustrated the book was not a knitter, but I was pleased none-the-less to see knitting in the book.
The story is of a very old man and a very old woman who are very lonely. The very old woman wishes for a sweet little fluffy cat and the very old man sets out on a journey to grant her wish. He travels far from their house and finally comes to a hill covered with cats.
This refrain is repeated throughout the story as the very old man tries to select the prettiest cat to take home.
He cannot decide and when he arrives at home with all of the cats, his wife points out that they cannot possibly feed them all. The very old woman suggests that the cats should decide who is the prettiest. This ends up in a cat fight of epic proportions.
When it is finally quiet outside, the elderly couple venture out to find one lone scraggly, frightened kitten. With a bath, many bowls of milk and much love the kitten becomes a very pretty cat.
“It is the most beautiful cat in the whole world,” said the very old man.
“I ought to know, for I’ve seen—
Hundreds of cats,
Thousands of cats,
Millions and billions and trillions of cats—and not one was as pretty as this one.”