An Old Man, an Old Cat, and Instant Kid Appeal: Cynthia Rylant’s Mr. Putter and Tabby

BookendsLynn: A week ago I got a call from my older son. Henry, my five-year-old grandson, had suffered his second concussion in five weeks. This time, he was looking back over his shoulder while running and smashed into a pole supporting a basketball hoop. The doctor wanted him to be kept quiet with no screen time of any sort, no school, no reading or math, and only gentle physical activity. Could I help and could I bring books that I could read to Henry? Nana to the rescue! I gathered up a collection of books that Henry’s older cousins had loved and rushed across the state.

Mr. Putter and Tabby Hit the Slope by Cynthia RylantHenry liked almost all the books I brought but I owe a special thank you to the wonderful Cynthia Rylant for the gentle nuttiness of her Mr. Putter and Tabby series. Henry adored them, as had his older cousins when they were that age. Who would think that books about an old man and his old cat, who both love to take naps, would be so appealing to kids? (I’ve always wished I could have heard THAT particular pitch to an editor.) But these books are as addictive as they are funny. We made a trip to Henry’s library, checked out every one we could find, and read them over and over. Thank you, Cynthia Rylant! Your adorable books made possible the Herculean task of keeping an active five-year-old boy quiet—well, almost quiet. He was certainly giggling happily.

Mr. Putter and Tabby Smell the Roses, published last fall, is the most recent title in the series. And I am happy to report that Mr. Putter and Tabby Hit the Slope is coming this September. Henry and I can hardly wait! Henry is back to his normal activity and hopefully he’ll be reading the new book to me before long.



About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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