The Book Cat


Morgan’s life in publishing began accidentally when he fell through the chimney into a Russell Square editorial office. Kind Mr Eliot recognised this cat’s ability to paw print a draft, while his mousing skills were obvious. Thereafter Morgan became The Book Cat, official office cat at Faber & Faber.

While other cats of Mr Eliot’s acquaintance and imagination formed the poems he wrote for his godchildren, in Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, Morgan’s life was a mystery. Therefore, Polly Faber imagines his beginnings, in war torn bombed London, struggling to survive with his mother and sister. Thereafter, it was a race for food that saw Morgan backed into the Faber offices. Is it possible that he might invite other felines of the central neighbourhood in at night to share his good fortune? Maybe they could hold mouse parties? What’ more, what if Morgan realised the crucial connection between writers and cats? Might it be that this justified his surreptitious training of many newbies as they chanced on a  bag, pocket or hat, and left for pastures and pens, new?

Alongside the story, are Clara Vulliamy’s whimsical, detailed, entrancing illustrations.

Altogether, The Book Cat is a charming story that Bookwagon recommends to readers of all ages.

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The Book Cat

Polly Faber, illustrated by Clara Vulliamy

(Faber & Faber)- hardback

Although Faber & Faber offices inspired Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, it seems that there were other felines in the vicinity. In fact, T.S. Eliot would have been familiar with Morgan,  of The Book Cat. Like Eliot’s cats, he was a cat seeking to survive  wartime London. However, his start was meagre, with his mother and sister Maeve, chancing through the bombs of 1941. Thereafter, he was a cat burglar, using his nine lives to hunt down food and find a dry place to sleep.
Therefore, when his hunt for mice resulted in his discovering the basement of a Russell Square office, he fell on his four paws. What’s more, his presence was welcome, for not only did his paw prints aid editing, but he kept the mice population down. Thereafter, Morgan made the place his own, inviting hungry cats for mouse parties. What’s more, he sought to find homes for kittens with unsuspecting would- be writers who graced the offices. After all, isn’t there a ‘connection between cats and writing’ that ‘goes back a very long way’? 
Polly Faber and Clara Vulliamy, recently of Marshmallow Pie the Cat Superstar on Stage and more, offer a charming story of biography and possibilities, imagination and hopes. Alongside Morgan and Lulu’s memories, is the history of a proud publisher within a scarred and magnificent city.  Bookwagon loves and recommends The Book Cat to readers of all ages.


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