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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 boo

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 dangerous?

Emily Neville’s 1964, Newbery prize-winning novel has the flavour of an indie movie, one that leans towards mumblecore, slice-of-life realism presented in informal, conversational tones. It’s narrated by Dave, a 14-year-old New York schoolboy. He lives in an apartment with his loud-mouthed lawyer fa

Dave, a 14 year old boy in NYC, brings home a cat. But also, he runs all around the city alone and with friends. Meets a girl, meets a guy just a little older but who is essentially homeless and estranged from his family. Just some adventures in the late 60s, things that I don't think would happen t

Read for Children's Group February 2020.

It reads like historical fiction now. Think of all that roaming about the city this 14 yo boy did. And the girl, Mary, too. And encyclopedias, no internet, no portable phone. Public schools perceived as good enough for a lawyer's son.

But I can see why I didn

As part of My Big Fat Reading Project, after I have finished reading the top 10 bestsellers of a given year, I go through the award winners. As of 1964 there were only six major awards given in the United States. These days there are scores of them.

It's Like This, Cat won the Newbery Award in 1964,

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 Cat.

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 actuall

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