I discovered the existence of this book thanks to a bookstore in the train station of where I currently live, of all the books they had displayed in English this one caught my attention, it had a nice cover so I went to look at it and even read a bit. That “bit” turned out to be around twenty something pages, I was waiting for my fiancé to come with the train and since it was cold I stood there in the bookstore reading away about Miss Minou and Mr. Tibble. I did not buy the book that day though.
Few days later my fiancé surprised me with a random present that he had left in my school backpack when I was not looking. I had told him about the book and how lovely it seemed, but it was rather expensive so I did not buy it, however, he knows I love reading, in his sweetness he gave me this book as a gift.
“The Cat Who Came in Off the Roof” is a book by Annie M. G. Schmidt, who is considered the mother of the Dutch theatrical song and the queen of Dutch children’s literature. I was actually unaware of how famous she was among the Dutch literature, I can not really judge that because what I read was the translation to English of the book, one can not fully appreciate the artistry of the author like this.
Mr. Tibble is a reporter who writes only about cats and he is told he will lose his job unless he writes about something else, such is his situation when his path crosses with the mysterious Miss Minou. From then onwards, Minou provides him with daily interesting news which she claims to get from the town cats. Tibble can not bring himself to believe her yet he keeps wondering why she purrs and sleeps in a cardboard box, sometimes you would think she is a cat herself.
The book is easy to read and has a fun and original story to tell, without being the most special thing I have ever read, I truly enjoyed it. In the beginning I thought it would not really offer much apart from the daily lives of Mr. Tibble, Miss Minou, all the cats from the town and the town itself, in fact, reading about the rather mundane adventures of all these characters already proved to entertain me. But it does actually develop a more central story, since Mr. Tibble writes news articles in the local newspaper it is maybe natural that at some point some kind of bigger “scoop” is under the making, it was very interesting to see where it was all going to, and how it would develop.
The way the author portrays cats is splendid, they are indeed like that! So cold and self sufficient as well as kind and warm. It is so unusual to be able to give voice to a cat, I imagine the cat I used to have would have a similar way of speaking to the ones in the book, not as Miss Minou, but maybe as the Metropole cat.
A lovely, one day, read.