Newest Review: ... says the little girl and she finds a small bowl for the kitten and a tiny cardboard box for it to sleep in. This was a wise move, beca... more
The Cat's Whiskers
Ginger - Charlotte Voake
Member Name: noodlesandwich
Ginger - Charlotte Voake
Advantages: Well illustrated, easy to follow, comical
Disadvantages: no dogs?
Ginger is a straightforward story about a cat who's life is turned upside down by the arrival of a kitten. It's written and illustrated by the Welsh children's illustrator Charlotte Voake, and is probably her best known work. Ginger won the Nestlé Smarties Book Prize Gold Award in 1997.
Ginger is a well looked after, happy cat, until one day the little girl who lives with him brings home a kitten. Of course the kitten wants everything that Ginger has; it eats from his bowl, sleeps in his basket and generally pesters the increasingly rankled older cat. Eventually Ginger leaves home in a huff and the little girl and the kitten go out to look for him in the rain. They find him, cold, wet and sulking, under a bush in the garden. "It's a pity you can't be friends," says the little girl and she finds a small bowl for the kitten and a tiny cardboard box for it to sleep in. This was a wise move, because as everybody knows; cats love cardboard boxes. Ginger and the kitten find they have something in common after all and end up getting on well together, "most of the time!".
Aimed at pre schoolers, the storyline perhaps makes it a particularly good choice for parents who want to help a young one get used to the idea of a new sibling, although it will be enjoyed by all children, siblings on the way or not. There's a subtlety about the text that belies the simplicity of the storyline. The quietly relaxed effect, like the illustrations, has obviously taken some skill to achieve. I like the way the little girl is never named, and she isn't Ginger's owner - she lives with him, (cat lovers will know what I mean), Ginger is the star. It may seem very simple, but I think a great deal of thought has gone into each sentence.
The illustrations are comical. Ginger has huge eyes and manages to convey different emotions to great effect. Feline enthusiasts will recognise the perfectly captured cat attitudes of the bouncy kitten and the aggrieved fur licker. The pen and paint style has just the right amount of detail. Lively images sprawl easily across the pages. 'Ginger' has a style all of it's own.
There are a lot of children's books about cats out there, many of them dreadful. I tend not to like so much those that give a cutesy, anthropomorphic view of animals. In particular, Beatrix Potter style stories that put animals in clothes, to me, are just wrong. I believe 'Tom Kitten' to be an abomination. My daughter wants a cat, but I fear her expectations are skewed by some of the 'animals as people' type media she's been exposed to. I find 'Ginger' preferable to this sort of thing because, as well as being fun, it gives an idea of how real cats behave. My daughter has had this book for several months and likes it very much.
To sum up; Ginger is a well illustrated and easy to follow fun cat story for pre schoolers. I highly recommend it.
Since this original there have been a couple more outings for Ginger in the books; 'Ginger Finds a Home' and 'Ginger and the Mystery Visitor.'
We have a paperback copy, but it is also available with a hardcover and in board book format. At the time of writing this can be bought new for £4.99 on Amazon.com.
Further Details, (from Amazon): Paperback: 40 pages, Publisher: Walker Books Ltd (April 7, 2008), Product Dimensions: 26.2 x 22.9 x 0.3 cm.
Summary: fun cat story for pre schoolers
- Kipper Storyboards: Butterfly - Mick Inkpen
- Katy Cat and Beaky Boo - Lucy Cousins
- Hulk Versus the World - Brandon Auman
- Historical House: Cecily's Portrait - Adele Geras
- Beetle in the Bathroom - Brian Moses
- Creative Crafts for Kids - Gill Dickinson
- Let's Get a Pup! Said Kate - Bob Graham
- Childrens Picture Atlas - Ruth Brocklehurst