Mog the Forgetful Cat

Mog is not very clever.  She tends to forget things, like washing the rest of her leg when halfway through it, or that she has already eaten supper.   Most of all she forgets that she has a catflap.  Instead of popping back in by herself, she hops up onto the windowsill and miaows loudly to be let back into the house.  Nobody in her family is very impressed by this behaviour.

Mog lives with Mr and Mrs Thomas, Debbie and Nicky.  They are often saying ‘Bother that cat!’ as Mog manages to eat Nicky’s boiled egg, squash Mrs Thomas’ hat, prevent Mr Thomas from watching the boxing on television and make Mrs Thomas drop an entire colander of peas.  The last straw is when she crawls onto Debbie’s bed and, forgetting that she is not a kitten, licks Debbie’s hair.  The poor girl is scared into dreaming that she is being eaten by a tiger, whereupon she wakes up and cries, causing Mr and Mrs Thomas to call out in exasperation (and to the delight of small children everywhere) ‘Bother bother BOTHER that cat!’

Poor Mog runs outside and sits miserably in the garden for a bit, thinking dark thoughts.  She also thinks she hasn’t been fed (which she has been, of course).  Then she spots a small light moving about in the kitchen, and wonders if the strange man with a torch might be planning to feed her.

Judith Kerr’s book does show its age (if nothing else in the pelmet-like length of Debbie’s skirt!) but it is still a classic book.  The clipped, rather repetitive sentences may seem old-fashioned but are ideal for children learning to speak and to read as they model simple, grammatically accurate structures.  “The garden always made Mog very excited.  She smelled all the smells. She chased the birds.  She climbed the trees.  She ran round and round with a big fluffed up tail.”  There are some great humorous moments (usually at Mog’s expense) such as when she sees it’s raining in the back garden and wonders if it might be dry out at the front! The other good thing about this book is the extent to which the pictures form part of the story.  Visual literacy is an important part of child development and it also allows opportunities to talk about what is going on in each picture.  Explore and discuss them with your own little bookworm.

A classic book that is still worth reading today.

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