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It's Like This, Cat

Emily Neville

Book Overview: 

Winner of the prestigious John Newbery Medal literary award.

It’s Like This, Cat is the story of a young man, Dave Mitchell, and how he grew to maturity, helped along indirectly by a stray cat that he brought home from Crazy Kate, the neighborhood Cat Lady. Dave lives in New York City with his lawyer father and his mother, who has bouts of asthma brought on by family strife. The cat, named “Cat” lives a wild life that brings Dave in contact with a future friend and girl friend. Dave’s adventures take him throughout areas of New York City, and the reader is treated to descriptions of famous city landmarks. With Dave’s new cat-related experiences comes an increased appreciation for his parents and deepening care for his new friends.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .I actually get a letter back from Tom Ransom. It says: “Thanks for your letter. The Youth Board got me a room in the Y on Twenty-third Street. Maybe I’ll come say Hello some day. They’re going to help me get a job this summer, so I don’t need a lawyer. Thanks anyway. Meow to Cat. Best, Tom.”

I go over to Nick’s house to show him the letter. I’d told him about Tom getting Cat out of the cellar and getting arrested, but Nick always acted like he didn’t really believe it. So when he sees the letter, he has to admit Cat and I really got into something. Not everyone gets letters from guys who have been arrested.

One thing about Nick sort of gripes me. He has to think up all the plans. Anything I’ve done that he doesn’t know about, he downgrades. Also, I always have to go to his house. He never comes to mine, except once in a coon’s age when I have a new record I won’t bring to his house becau. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Alright Alright Alright... this book is dated. Like 51 years old! But you know what? I really liked it!

It's about a 14 year old boy named David.

If this book was written today... David would be 17 years old, one parent would be out of the picture, and he'd be a misunderstood rich kid.


In this...more

First recent read: I can see why this book confused me as a child...a New
York apartment setting (do people live in apartments? why don't they have a house?)...an eighteen
year old boy who is homeless (where are the boy's parents?)...young teenagers who wander
around a big city (isn't that dangero...more

Holy smokes, this book is dated! It's a nostalgic, but not cloying story of a 14 year old boy, his parents, neighbors, and friends. The cat is basically a prop to get the story going. For modern kids it will sound like historical fiction - record players? Harry Belafonte? Beatniks? People who thi...more

"My father is always talking about how a dog can be very educational for a boy. This is one reason I got a cat." (p.1) So starts the story of NYC kid and resident wise guy Dave Mitchell. It's 1963 and Dave is just hanging around the neighborhood, negotiating friendships and trying to stay out of...more

Honestly, I wanted to love this book. I really did. I wanted it to be like a 'Catcher in the Rye' for a slightly younger audience. I had heard it was that kind of style with a narrator that had a bit of edge but in a book now slightly dated.

The book sounded perfect for the topic our year 5 childr...more

This is one of the most inspiring middle-grade fiction novels I've ever read. First published in 1969, It's Like This, Cat has a cat in it, but the story isn't about just a cat. It's about a boy who learns the value of friendship and how to understand his dysfunctional family even when he doesn't...more

Winner of the 1964 Newbery Medal.

It's not your typical children's story; it has a grown up feel to it. It's set in New York City in the mid 20th century, back when parents let their young kids roam all over, seemingly without worry. It's the story of young Davey and his formerly stray cat named C...more

It’s like this cat has the best opening line of any Newbery I’ve read so far, even the famous ‘Dark and stormy” line from Wrinkle in Time. “My father is always talking about how a dog can be very educational for a boy. This is one reason I got a cat.” Genius, right? I knew right then that I was g...more

I resisted reading this book, because I retain a childhood prejudice against books with male narrators, and I still don't really like kids' books about animals. (It's not really THAT much about animals.) But I forced myself to read a chapter, and then another chapter, and then realized I was actu...more

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