Wednesday, February 20, 2008

April's Kittens

April's Kittens
Clare Turlay Newberry
Harper & Brothers, 1940

Nobody has much room in New York because so many people are trying to live there at the same time. So April and her mother and father and Sheba lived all crowded up together in a very small apartment. It was so small that there wasn't even room in it for April to have a real bed, and although she was six, she still slept in a crib.

And thus it begins... the mini saga of April and her kittens... April and her wee, one-cat apartment... April and her stern Daddy... When Sheba gives birth to a litter of adorable felines, April has to make the decision to keep Sheba or one of her babies. Like Sophie's Choice, who will she pick? The tale unfolds mainly in words, but with select charcoal drawings that are too dear to ignore. (Those delicious little pink tongues!)

I love how the drama of this book centers around the size of real estate in NYC. They can only have one cat because there is only room for one cat. What really amazes me is that at the end her parents decide on a whim to get a bigger apartment (a TWO-cat apartment) and don't have to worry about being able to afford it. I mean come on, was their apartment rent-stabilized? Will they have to downgrade in neighborhood to upgrade in size? I guess that is New York new and not New York of old. Way back in 1940 - coming off the Depression and into the war - city folk had other things to worry about.

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