Cover image for Cat up a tree : a story in poems
Cat up a tree : a story in poems
Isaacs, Anne.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Dutton Children's Books, 1998.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 32 cm
A series of poems describe the reactions of various characters--from a young girl and her father to a fireman to a robin to the cat itself--when a cat climbs a tree.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3559.S12 C38 1998 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



There's a cat up a tree. What could be more familiar? Yet with her astonishing gifts of imagination and language, Anne Isaacs discovers in this seemingly ordinary event a world of cosmic reach -- from the earthy roots and leafy branches of the forebearing tree to the mysterous ginger cat himself, then higher still to the cool, unblinking moon and beyond. Creating a rich texture of personalities and possibilities, her story unfolds one poem at a time, ultimately sweeping the reader into a pageant of feline concern from which no one, young or old, cat-lover or not, will emerge unmoved.

Does the cat need catching? The fireman and cat-catcher think so. To the consternation of her father, a little girl wants to take the cat home as a pet. In the sky, a balloon lady drifts by to sing praises to a like-minded free spirit; a wary robin sets up an alarm; the mayor tries to organize everyone. And then there's the box-car racer, who couldn't care a whit about the cat and only wishes that the crowd around the tree would get out of his way! But of course it's the cat who -- knowing very well why he's up there -- has the last word.

Anne Isaacs, author of the Caldecott Honor book Swamp Angel and the highly praised Treehouse Tales, again freshly, brilliantly conceives the read-aloud experience. Effortlessly changing mood and voice, evoking everyday wishes and secret longings, the poems here cast a rich storytelling spell by virtue of their insight, versatility, and dexter

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

A series of Romantic odes and witty soliloquies inspired by a climbing cat comprises this sumptuous work by Isaacs (Swamp Angel) and British first-time illustrator Mackey. Lush, full-bleed art depicts a rural community as spring blossoms, while each spread offers a poem in a different voice, each addressing one aspect of a cat's adventure up a tree. A girl gives chase, her father runs after her; the fireman is called for, followed by the "cat-catcher"; the robin cries out in fear and warning, and the tree groans in complaint. Isaacs's language can be ornate (e.g., one poem, "Night Rising," begins, "Ancient alchemist, wake! Arise:/ Flood each echoing well with beams"). Elsewhere, she can be straightforward and funny (the fireman confesses, "I'd rather face flames raging out of control/ Than a cat, who's a fire with four legs and a soul"). Mackey unifies the various poems with gorgeous, dreamlike paintings. Various elements such as people walking dogs or passersby appear on the pages with a fresh, spontaneous wit, while the cat is as lyrical visually as he appears in the text. Cat lovers will go wild for this work, as will poets and dreamers. Ages 8-up. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 3-6-Delightful poems that center around a cat that has stranded itself up a tree. Readers hear from the girl who spots him, the firefighter who cannot catch him, the robin who lured him, the tree that abhors him, a passing balloonist who admires him, and others attracted to the scene. The cat itself contributes several poems: contemplating former lives, admiring the night, and such. Isaacs's poems demonstrate a wide range of form and mood, as the individual pieces come together to tell a story. They are wonderfully matched by Mackey's richly colored paintings, presented on striking double-page spreads, which reveal the characters' emotions as they depict an appreciation of landscape and light. A charmer.-Miriam Lang Budin, Mt. Kisco Public Library, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.