Cover image for My nine lives
My nine lives
Priceman, Marjorie.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Atheneum Books for Young Readers, [1998]

Physical Description:
40 unnumbered pages : color illustrations, music ; 29 cm
Purports to be the journal of a cat recounting all nine of the lives she has lived and her remarkable effect on history, beginning in Mesopotamia in 3000 B.C. and culminating in Wisconsin in 1995.
General Note:
"An Anne Schwartz book."
Reading Level:
180 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 2.5 0.5 51259.

Reading Counts RC K-2 2.4 2 Quiz: 30976 Guided reading level: L.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Childrens Area-Picture Books
PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



What a discovery! A remarkable book has been found -- the journal of a cat. Written between 3,000 B.C. and the present, this "first-feline" account by one Clio records her nine extraordinary lives, and contains information...that could rewrite history. How fascinating to read, in Clio's own words, the story behind her naming of the constellations. How charming to see miniature self-portraits illustrating her ingenious invention of the alphabet. How beguiling to hear her description of making the Mona Lisa (clearly a cat aficionado) smile. And there's so much more! Discovered under a dusty couch by Clio's current owner, here is a startling document sure to astound historians, cat lovers, and children alike.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 3^-6. Who'd have thought one cat could have accomplished so history-changing much, even in the space of nine lives? Meet Clio, who shares the scoop on her accomplishments in nine different incarnations, starting with Mesopotamia, where the cat names the constellations over dinner. Next stop: China in 1500 B.C. Clio's contribution this time is to become the first clock (OK, feline sundial). In subsequent lives the polymath puss will invent the alphabet, bring a smile to the face of a dour Mona Lisa, and--well, you get the idea. All these doings are recorded in the pages of what its publisher presents (with tongue cemented firmly in cheek) as Clio's own self-illustrated journal that somehow has survived the centuries. It's a pleasant--though occasionally arch--conceit, and Priceman's hand-lettered text and illustrations rendered in various period-appropriate styles are engaging and witty. However, the appeal here is more to adults than to young readers. --Michael Cart

Publisher's Weekly Review

Priceman's feline alter ego gives readers an account of her accomplishments throughout all of her lives, from Mesopotamia in 3000 B.C. to 1913 New Orleans. In a starred review, PW wrote, "This beguiling spoof is the cat's meow." All ages. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 2-6-"Alive! I yawn." So begins the first journal entry of Clio, an extraordinary cat who chronicles each of her nine lives. After naming the constellations in ancient Mesopotamia, she goes on to invent the clock, the alphabet, and the fork. She makes the Mona Lisa smile and causes the accident that leads a Viking ship to discover America. Finally, she ends up in modern-day Wisconsin and gives birth to a litter of kittens. Using watercolor, gouache, and colored pencils, Priceman creates double-page spreads that look like a real journal. The painted backgrounds capture the texture of old paper, complete with water stains and ink splotches. Clio's writings and sketches are rendered in a style appropriate to the historical period she is describing. Occasionally, scrapbook items are presented in a trompe l'oeil style (a feather from 1500 Italy; her son's first flea under a piece of scotch tape; the postmarked envelope in which the journal arrived at the publisher's door). It's this attention to detail (extending to the flap copy, which explains that Clio is also an acclaimed children's book illustrator working under the pseudonym of "Marjorie Priceman") and refusal to give up the game that makes this irreverent romp through history a real charmer. Brief notes at the end clarify historical questions and set kids on the right track. This is a delightful story of a cat with a very distinctive voice, a good sense of humor, and a knack with a paintbrush. Highly appealing fun for children who appreciate the absurd.-Nina Lindsay, Oakland Public Library, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.