Jenny and the Cat Club
Written and Illustrated by Esther Averill
When my human had me review The Fire Cat some years back, she had no idea that Pickles, the jumbo-pawed main character of the story, was just one of many feline characters created by author Esther Averill, and that most of her books centered around a small black cat named Jenny Linsky. (By the way, why is it that so many authors give their cats full names, first and last… except for mine? I was lucky I even got the unimaginative “Cat” as a surname.) Jenny, so the story goes, was a street cat in Greenwich Village, New York who was taken in by a captain whose hobby was knitting. The good part for Jenny is that her new human gave her cream and chicken every night. The bad part is he knitted her a red scarf that she had to wear. Well, at least I thought that was bad — you would never catch me wearing something like that. But apparently Jenny thought it was just fine and wore it frequently. This book is a compilation of five stories about Jenny and her friends in the Cat Club — Mr. President, the musical kitty Butterfly, the feisty Sinbad, graceful Macaroni and a parade of others, including Pickles, the Fire Cat. Along the way Jenny brings home a pair of brothers who also join the Cat Club. While the stories and illustrations are very charming, and I enjoyed having my human read them to me, I have to wonder — why is Jenny such a timid little thing? You would think after being the star of so many books that she would eventually grow a backbone, but most of the time the other cats come close to stealing the show. Fortunately for her, author Averill always adds some twist to bring Jenny back into the spotlight. With such a reticent attitude, Jenny would have lasted about two seconds in my household! I am polite, but I am no pushover.