Welcome, two-leggeds, to Lucinda’s sixth online shopping bazaar. This week my CCL (Cantankerous Cat Lady) has chosen to bring you gift ideas from my favorite category — books. There will be some here for two-legged children and for adults as well.
CCL has asked me to tell you that all selections in this post are for the top quality, collectible editions of these books available on Amazon. Once you get to Amazon, you can select the version from this post or find a less expensive one, if you prefer. No matter — we’d just like to see you enjoy these fine books.
Gift Idea #1: “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats,” by T.S. Eliot
I have come to enjoy reading books and writing my reviews. I am indeed a lucky cat to have learned this skill. So, let’s jump right in with a book that’s totally about cats. Have you read this book? If not, you might find it quite entertaining.
First, here’s an interesting fact that you might not know: The book inspired Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical, “Cats,” and the lyrics in the musical are verbatim.
Have you heard of Macavity the cat? He is a cat criminal mastermind. My CCL wrote a post about him on this website. If you purchase the “Old Possum” book, you can read his whole story.
CCL has said that many people ask her for name suggestions for a new cat in their family. If you really can’t find a suitable name and want something original, check with Old Possum.
Here are a few of his suggestions. The more ordinary ones include Plato, Electra, or Demeter. Then there are less common ones, such as Munkustrap or Corecopat. Or maybe Bombalurina.
I see one problem with all of these unusual names: How would you call the cat to supper?
Now, tell me, have you read “Archy and Mehitabel,” written by Don Marquis?” It’s another book I’ve reviewed. Archy was a cockroach who wrote stories by jumping from letter to letter on an old-fashioned typewriter.
Mehitabel was his black cat friend, who claimed to be a reincarnation of the Queen of Sheba. Who knows? She could have been — she certainly had the attitude. If you would like to read this book, pick up a copy of it, too, while you are on Amazon.
Anyway, I really like the name “Mehitabel.” I wouldn’t mind having such a name.
CCL says to tell you that if you purchased both of those books using the “Old Possum” link, she would make a small commission on each book, since CCL is an affiliate. It’s true of all Amazon purchases that you make from our website.
This is a rare first edition of this book, but be aware there are many less expensive editions available on Amazon. If you are a collector and need this book for your library, go for it. If you simply want to have a good copy to read, make your selection from those Amazon has available.
by T.S. Eliot
Gift Idea #2: Beatrix Potter: “The Complete Peter Rabbit Library”
My CCL says she had a set of little hardcover Beatrix Potter books when she was very young. (Hard to imagine a time that long ago.) She treasured these books. Now you, too, can pass this legacy on to your own children. Beatrix Potter books are great companions for the very young.
These Beatrix Potter stories are a collection of animal tales for the small two-legged children. The illustrations are sweet, and give the young one a visual picture to go with the story.
It is obvious that the stories are meant to teach the two-legged some things it did not learn from its mother before it was weaned. Still, I ask you — have you ever seen a rabbit in clothes?
To me, the clothes are ridiculous. How would a rabbit function outside midst thorns and bushes with these garments on? I guess the clothes help the youngster to identify more closely with the animal and the story.
The lessons in the Peter Rabbit book seem to be “do what your mother tells you.” Peter is not good at obeying and gets into all sorts of trouble. An evil cat guards the garden from all intruders, and strikes fear into Peter’s rabbit heart.
I do not like to use “evil” and “cat” together, as it’s bad for our kitty image. Perhaps we could say the “cunning cat.” No matter what you call him, if he’d caught young Peter, the rabbit would have become lunch.
So, the cat saw the rabbit. The cat apparently did not catch Peter, as there would be no more stories if he did. You will have to read the book to find out what happens.
by Beatrix Potter
Gift Idea #3: “Alice in Wonderland” or “The Annotated Alice”
You have a choice. Our link takes you to “The Annotated Alice,” but if you’d rather purchase the “Alice in Wonderland” story by itself, you may do so. Just click on the link for “The Annotated Alice” and then select whichever version you would rather have.
Now, this is really a strange story. It all starts when the little girl, Alice, sees a rabbit with a pocket watch, muttering about how he will be late. Alice decides to follow him to see where he goes.
When she sees the rabbit go down a hole, she follows and falls a very long way. That, my two-legged friends, is the reason why it is not a good idea to follow a rabbit. Who knows where you will end up?
At the bottom of the hole, Alice sees things to eat on a little table. She finds that one thing will make her smaller and another makes her larger. I guess she forgot the lessons from her mother telling her, “Don’t eat strange food as it may not be good for you.”
In one of her adventures, Alice goes to a tea party with some crazy characters, leading her to decide that all the creatures here are very strange. For example, there’s the fuzzy caterpillar sitting on a mushroom and smoking a hookah. This caterpillar tells her she can become smaller or larger depending on which side of the mushroom she eats.
This idea intrigues me. Think of the outstanding hunter I could become if I could change size whenever I wanted.
My favorite character, of course, is the Cheshire cat. I love it that when the cat disappears, he leaves only his grin behind. If I could do that trick, I would be able to get away with far more escapades than the CCL would find acceptable.
I was relieved when I learned at the end of the book that it had all been a dream that Alice had.
Your Other Choice: “The Annotated Alice”
“The Annotated Alice” was written in 1960 by Martin Gardner and continued by Mark Bierstein. These two authors “decode” Alice for us, explaining all the extra ideas and concepts which Carroll embedded in the text.
“Alice in Wonderland” is the original story, but it is actually many stories rolled into one. It seems that Lewis Carroll hid all kinds of information in the story that we don’t recognize without these annotations.
These extensive annotations explain contemporary references, mathematical concepts, word play, and Victorian traditions. Yes, all of these can be found in the Annotated Alice.
So, you can choose. If you want the copy of the Annotated Alice that we have shown here, go for it. If you’d rather have just Alice without all the extra explanations, look at the Amazon choices and select one you would rather have. Or, go for the whole bowl of kibble and buy them both.
150th Anniversary Deluxe Edition
by W. W. Norton & Co.
Price: $26.65; Prime
Gift Idea #4: “Aesop’s Fables”
These fables are full of more lessons for the young two-leggeds. The more stories like these that I see, the more I wonder if these youngsters are just weaned too young, and they have to learn things from sources other than their mother.
These Aesop’s tales show many ways in which an animal solves a problem in order to emerge victorious. For example, take the fable of the crow and the pitcher.
A thirsty crow found a pitcher containing water, but he could not reach the water with his bill Therefore, he had to figure out a way to solve this problem. He began dropping pebbles into the pitcher, one at a time.
His method finally paid off and he got the water level high enough so he could drink. He must have taken a lesson from a cat, because we tend to have persistence down to a fine art. For this reason, cats always find a way to get their two-legged to feed them.
This particular edition of Aesop’s Fables that we are offering is a special edition. It is hardcover and the 100 copy collector’s edition. There are more than 300 fables in the book, so you will have plenty to read to the children.
You could read one story a night and the book would last for a year. Then, after each fable you could discuss it with your child, to make sure the two-legged youngster understands the lesson.
This book could come to be a favorite with your child.
100 copy collector’s edition
by Royal Classics
Price: $59.95; Prime
Gift Idea #5: “The Little Prince,” by Antoine de Saint Exupery
In this story, a pilot lands in the Sahara Desert, because he is having engine troubles with the plane. An “engine” is a completely foreign concept to a cat, but it appears that the two-leggeds, who always want to complicate things, have become very dependent on all these devices with engines.
Now, a desert is another amazing thing. I have never visited one, but discovered that it is made up of hills and valleys of sand. This desert looks to me like a giant cat box. Having a sandy area this big would mean we’d always have a clean place to dig. The desert sand would be convenient, too, if you wanted to go on a hunt, as there would be plenty of sand you could roll in to cover your scent.
The pilot is surprised when he sees a small, golden-haired two-legged boy, who appears unexpectedly out of nowhere.
The youngster says he is from an asteroid, which is a large rock floating in the air high above us. He says that on his asteroid there is one rose, one baobab tree, and three volcanoes.
This little boy tells many unusual stories about the characters he has met on his journey.
He talks about a fox he met in the desert. The fox tells him that if they are to be friends, the boy has to “tame” the fox. In this way they establish ties to each other. I like this explanation of taming, as it appears that both parties must be tamed by the other.
Then the boy meets a snake, who tells him that one snake-bite can send him back to his asteroid. Since the boy is worried about his rose, he decides to let the snake bite him.
Meanwhile, the pilot gets the plane fixed, and he looks for the little boy. He can’t find him, and decides the youngster must have found a way to go home.
The fox has the right idea: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. Often the essential is invisible to the eye.
Though this is a children’s story, CCL says she did not read it until she was full-grown, and she still enjoyed it. It’s a delightful journey into fantasy.
by HMH Books for Young Readers
Gift Idea #6: A Three-Volume Set Of “The Dalai Lama’s Cat.”
Now, here’s a three-book set that is a good read for any two-legged who loves cats. The author, David Michie, has written “The Dalai Lama’s Cat,” “The Art of Purring,” and “The Power of Meow.”
The author obviously knows cats, and demonstrates it in the way he writes about them. The three books are also an elementary tutorial of some of the basic beliefs of Buddhism. You gain a glimpse of what this religion is all about.
The cat is known by several names, the most common being HHC, which stands for “His Holiness’s Cat.” Through her adventures, this little cat conveys the lessons the author wants to teach.
One of my favorite parts occurs when HHC decides to visit the yoga studio down the street. She becomes very interested in the yoga poses. She learns that she uses a common cat yoga pose when she prepares for sleep at night — It’s called the “croissant pose.”
Interesting, that there is a trend afoot these days in yoga studios to allow cats to join the group.
If you want to read charming stories of how a Himalayan cat learns about Buddhism, you will end up learning some basic principles yourself. I believe you will find these three books delightful. Buy them for yourself or as a caring gift for another cat lover.
Remember, when you look at these books on Amazon, if you see a book you want that’s at a lower price, feel free to purchase it instead of our choice. CCL says that, as an Amazon affiliate, she will make her commission in either case.
by David Michie
Bonus Gift: Convenience Concepts Three-Tier Bookshelf
Now that you have a choice of cat books, you need a good place to put them. If you have other cat collectibles, you can display them all together. Here is a set of shelves that you can buy and designate as your “cat showcase” and put in it everything cat that you collect.
By Convenience Concepts, this Omega 3-tier bookshelf in grey is just the ticket. It is wood, with an unleaded base paint. Measurements are 31.5 x 11.75 x 2.5 inches. It’s easy to assemble.
Remember, you can order the choices I’ve selected or you can go to Amazon using a link from one of these products, and then select any option you want. As an Amazon affiliate, my CCL will receive a small commission from your order.