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King o' the Cats    by Aaron Shepard & Kristin Sorra order for
King o' the Cats
by Aaron Shepard
Order:  USA  Can
Atheneum, 2004 (2004)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Aaron Shepard tells us that King o' the Cats is an expanded re-telling of an old European folktale. Accompanying the story, Kristin Sorra's rich and colorful illustrations stir the imagination and make it all seem real; perhaps it is.

It all begins with young Peter Black, a good man (and church sexton) whose fault is to tell wild stories. Peter's down to his last job, and Father Allen warns him that the stories must cease. One night, the young sexton investigates lights and meowing in the church, which he finds full of felines, there to watch a coronation.

Of course, Father Allen doesn't believe Peter. Then the sexton spots cats riding foxes to hunt an Irish setter, a hunt which suffers an accident. Think Peter's believed this time? Of course not. But after a feline funeral, Peter carries a message to the good Father's cat, Tom Tildrum, that turns poor Father Allen into a believer with his own reputation for wild stories!

All of us who live with cats know that they have their own lives independent of ours - King o' the Cats, a charming folktale, confirms what we already knew and is great fun for young and old.

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