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Cover image for Holly : the true story of a cat
Holly : the true story of a cat
1st American ed.
Publication Information:
New York : Henry Holt, 2000.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 24 cm
Abandoned as a kitten, a cat is taken in by a family at Christmas and becomes an important part of the household.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 2.6 0.5 65735.
Electronic Access:
Contributor biographical information http://catdir.loc.gov/catdir/bios/hol056/99059561.html
Publisher description http://catdir.loc.gov/catdir/description/hol057/99059561.html


Call Number

On Order



From a popular author/illustrator, the enchanting story of holly the cat - ideal for Christmas and all year long.

She was just a tiny kitten and she was abandoned. Someone found her and gave her to us. Because it was nearly Christmas, we called her Holly.

Holly is an abandoned kitten adopted at Christmastime. Shy at first, she slowly gains more and more confidence in her new home. Sweetly, and gently, and sometimes humorously, she quickly becomes a member of the family.

Everyone who has ever known or loved a cat will instantly recognize the lovable Holly. A true story, Holly's tale is an ideal example of how pets touch our lives in wonderful ways.

Author Notes

Ruth Brown has written and illustrated more than twenty books for children since her first book was published in 1978. Among her many notable titles are If at First You Do Not See , Copycat , and A Dark, Dark Tale . She lives with her husband and two sons in Bath, England.

Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

Brown (Copycat), whose love of cats is well known, tells how an abandoned black kitten makes the holiday seasonDand the many years afterwardDextra bright for its adoptive family. The family's matriarch, presumably Brown herself (on one page, the woman is painting an illustration that appears in the book), serves as narrator, explaining how the tiny fur ball got her name and eventually made the household her own. ("Because it was nearly Christmas, we called her Holly. She was timid at first, but as she grew she became more relaxed.") The deceptively simple text proves engaging and affectionate, and the artist's careful attention to the cuddly, wily and sometimes standoffish ways of felines will surely strike a chord with pet owners. Scenes of Holly swinging Tarzan-like from lace curtains and curling up in bed with her sleeping owners are particularly memorable. Ages 3-6. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Horn Book Review

Brown's paean to her pet will please cat lovers of all ages; others may find the story a bit sentimental. Holly grows from a timid stray kitten into a confident cat with kittens of her own. The adept artwork injects some humor into the true story--when the text states that Holly settled into her new home, the picture depicts the wiry kitten climbing the draperies, and another scene shows Holly bringing her owner (who is standing on a chair) the gift of a mouse. From HORN BOOK Spring 2001, (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

This slight holiday offering presents Holly, a kitten adopted at Christmastime (hence her name), and follows her as she overcomes an initial shyness and establishes herself firmly in the family’s affections. Along the way she bears two kittens of her own but always remains “the boss.” The narrator never names herself, but we see in the second-to-last frame that she is in fact the illustrator: the now-grown Holly watches as she finishes a painting of Holly as a kitten. Brown (Mad Summer Night’s Dream, 1999, etc.) is at the top of her form here, her expressive charcoal, acrylic, and watercolor paintings capturing with humor and affection the cat’s adventures. In one image, a disgusted Holly tries to find refuge in the linen closet from her kittens; in another, a very proud Holly presents her owner—depicted only as a pair of feet on a chair—with a mouse. An understated text highlights the gentle irony in the paintings. It is a lovely piece of bookmaking: all the images are framed with a rounded top, giving them a church-window feeling. For all its beauty and cleverness, though, the book’s audience is unclear: published for children, there is no child in it, nor does it even attempt a plot that would engage a child reader. As a paean to a cat, it is sweet; as a Christmas gift for a cat lover, it is lovely; as a child’s book, it misses the mark. (Picture book. 3-6)

Booklist Review

Ages 2^-5. There's a physical tenderness in this simple, realistic story with detailed illustrations in watercolor, charcoal, and acrylics that celebrate the warmth of a home that cradles a beloved pet. The beginning is a holiday story, and the front-and endpapers are decked with holly. The family takes in a stray kitten at Christmas and they call her Holly. Exquisite close-ups show hands stroking the black furry stray in a warm family room decorated with lots of red and green. Holly is wary at first, then mischievous as she begins to feel at home. From that safe place, she goes exploring, and when she's full-grown, she has two kittens of her own. In one scene, Holly peers through someone's eyeglasses. On another page, she's seriously watching TV. Near the end, she "poses" for the artist; turn the page and there's a climactic double-page, eye-to-eye view of the big, beautiful, black cat. --Hazel Rochman