Book of the Week: Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats

November 5, 2013

Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot and Edward Gorey

Images and text by Carter.

This wacky and whimsical collection of poems by T.S. Eliot, Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, was originally published in 1939. This particular version was reillustrated in 1982 by Edward Gorey, and this duo is fantastic in all its feline glory. Did you know that the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, Cats, is adapted from these poems?

I’m a sucker for playful words and nonsensical syllables, all strung together in kooky vignettes. Add in cats — those aloof and goofy creatures, and this batch of verses is irresistible. There’s the Rum Tum Tugger who doesn’t care about cuddles, the Jellicle Cats and their Jellicle Ball, and the acrobatic Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer. T.S. Eliot leaves you with this dogged reminder: A Cat is Not a Dog.

Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot and Edward Gorey

P.S. — I am slightly terrified of cats. Something about those knowing eyes and the way they can scrunch all their bones up into no space at all just gives me chills! But if I ever soften up and let one in, I’ve already named him Tim Riggins. I might not be a cat lady, but I certainly have cat quirks!

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Aja Lake | the gold hat. November 5, 2013 at 8:45 am

I did not know that about Cats. What a great piece of trivia. Thanks!


2 Carrie November 5, 2013 at 8:59 am

Tim Riggins – ha!!! This looks like a cool book, though I am not partial to cats. My daughter seems to be digging them though, so this could be a good pick later on down the road. Really like this series! Keep the good books coming!


3 Emily November 5, 2013 at 6:43 pm

Tim Riggins is the best cat name I’ve ever heard!!!


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