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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Cats From Summer Island (The)
by Edith Unnerstad
Age Range: 6-8
Greta has adopted a kitten and named him Rosamundus while she has been staying on Summer Island with her mum and dad. Her parents agree to keep the kitten but only for the summer break. Now that the end of the holiday season is rapidly approaching Greta desperately hopes they will change their minds and let her keep Rosamundus for good.
One day Greta follows Rosamundus to the loft where she encounters an incredible scene: a group of cats dancing and singing – Rosamundus is playing the piano and the other cats are on the dance floor including Ruffus, the red-haired cat from next door; little Susie from the Lundy family; Mrs Hill's white Minette with the red bow; Black Menace from Fircroft, who has the habit of spitting to everyone; Tiger, the yellow-streaked cat from the chemist; The Stephens' twin cats Leda and Freda; Bethy the cat from the local hotel, and last but not least, Seaman bloom's old stiff-kneed Moses. When the cats finish their dance they hold a meeting because they have a pressing problem to solve: The steamer, East Wind, is setting out on her last trip from the island for that year and as Greta discovers, Rosamundus is not the only cat in danger of being left abandoned on the island and she knows she must do about it.
Finnish author Edith Unnerstad (1900-1982) was born in Finland but moved to Sweden with her family when she was ten years old. Written in 1957, this is a charming tale about the adventures of a group of feline friends, each with their idiosyncratic characteristics, who must find a way to survive before the summer people leave the island. The Argentinian artist Lilian Obligado has produced remarkable, enchanting illustrations that perfectly embrace the spirit of the story.
Unnerstad is particularly known for the series of children’s books about the Pip-Larsson family, many of which have been translated into English and are listed on the website: The Pip-Larssons Go Sailing (1963), The Urchin (1967), Saucepan Journey (1968), Little O (1976) and Little O’s Naughty Day (1974). Other Unnerstad titles translated into English include: Spettacake Holiday (1959), Grandmother’s Journey (1960) and A Journey to England (1961)