My copy of Katie has lost it’s dust jacket and is falling apart- it has been very well loved.
Written by Richenda and David Martin and published in 1974 it is based on the true story of the authors black and white kitten named Katie.
‘Mr and Mrs Dodds lived in the Australian countryside with their son, Ian. Mr Dodds wrote books and Mrs Dodds taught in the little bush school. In summer the big wide shady veranda of their house was also the schoolroom.’
Ian is given a kitten one day by the post mistress in their small town and he calls her Katie. She is a tabby cat with a white bib and four white socks plus a white tip on the end of her tail. Katie likes to snuggle in warm cosy places and one morning when Mr Dodds is getting ready for a trip to the big city Katie falls asleep in his suitcase.
And so the story goes; poor Mr Dodds is stuck in the big city with a kitten in his case and a meeting with his editor imminent and meanwhile back at home Ian, his mother and the school children are frantically searching for the cat.
Silly Mr Dodds tries the police station to get some help with the kitten and then he can’t get a hotel room because the town is full ‘…on account of the big cattle sales this week’ In the end, alls well as he leaves the kitten with a friend’s family, attends his meeting and eventually takes Katie home to the country.
Although this was a cute story I have realised that it’s the illustrations that really make this picture book special. The story is quite long, and a little strange but it is Noela Young’s gorgeous illustrations of this curious little kitten that I fell in love with ‘when I was little’ and fell in love with again now. Some stories and characters I remember vividly from childhood and I have found that that is also true with illustrations.
This illustration of Katie the kitten asleep in a dolls pram with paws wrapped around a dolls bottle is one that I absolutely remember fondly.
Noela Young also illustrated the classic Muddle-Headed Wombat series of books written by Ruth Park. Katie is now out of print.