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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 15 June 1999
I first read this book at about age eight and it has stayed with me ever since.
The story is of a witch's cat who desperately wants to be a kitchen cat, in spite of the blue sparks that sometimes fly from his ears! Gobbolino's adventures are full of magic, fun and that tiny chunk of unfairness put to rights that children love.
This is a lovely book for reading aloud to young children, or for slightly older children to read themselves. The chapters, which are short enough for a child to read in about 15 minutes, are all self-contained and can be read out of context or in order.
The themes of rejection and discrimination are modern enough, and the stories are charming and often include a bit of a twist - an orphanage where gruel is turned into sugar-plumbs, a cat (albeit a witch's cat) playing dog Toby in a Punch and Judy show and a maiden in a tower who wants neither of her two knightly suitors are just a few.
My only complaint is that the pictures are of poor quality (black and white drawings) and are few and far between.
All in all a charming tale which gets to the point very early on in the story (important for young readers).
Strongly recommended
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on 6 December 2001
I rememeber having this read to me as a child in infant school and I still remember being mesmerised even 20 years down the line. As a result I look forward to reading it to my god children when they are 5-6. It is in essence a tale of Gobbolino fighting against prejudice and seeking the love and acceptance amonst his peers, with plenty of adventures along the way .This, as with the rest of U M Williams books, is achieved without being overly patronising or sacherine in its tone. It is worth also reading Adventures of the Wooden Horse as very much in the same genre. A book that suits independent reading from the about the age of 6 or as a storytime book for 4-5 onwards. If I remember correctly theres even a song to accompany the book and luckily for you I cant abuse your ears by singing it!
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VINE VOICEon 17 November 2006
This book was read to my class in Infants School and it remains one of my favourite books 35 years later. The author has just died, I believe, aged 95. She wrote nearly 70 books and this is probably the best known. The language and style are beautifully crafted and it is a joy to read aloud. Gobbolino is a little kitten and he belongs to a bad tempered witch who gets irritated with him because he just wants to be a family pet, and is not as good a witch's cat as his sister, Sootica. If you want to find out whether he ever finds a family to love, you will need to read the book!
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on 26 June 2003
I love this tale of cute little Gobbolino. It is a simple tale, yet also very charming. I loved it when I was a kid, and I still enjoy it now, and I'm approaching 30!
Little Gobbolino only wants to be a kitchen cat. But his Mother is the witch Graymalkin, and so Gobbolino has inherited witchy powers that most ordinary folk are highly suspicious of. It does end happily though, and it is a lovely little tale. Children (and adults) will love this!
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on 24 September 2003
I read this book when I was in juniors school (year 6) i've loved it so much, it's just a fantastic read. So much so i even named my cat after it, he's 15 now.
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on 29 November 2011
I read this story as a series when it was published in the magazine/tape series called Storyteller in the eighties. I recall waiting eagerly for the next instalment. I am delighted I have discovered this as a book and have now ordered it for my little bookworm. as it happens I can not recall any other story that was told in those magazines, and that reads volumes. can not wait to read it to the kids.
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on 3 February 2007
I bought this book recently for myself (I am in my twenties) because I remember having loved it so much as a child. Once again I was totally enchanted by this wonderful story, Gobbolino really is a classic joy, for children and adults alike. Buy a copy for the children and keep a copy on your own bookshelf with pride!
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VINE VOICEon 15 January 2014
It's a shame that some children were given this too soon or too late. It's a wonderful story if Gobbolino's quest to shake of his destined role as a witch's cat and instead become a plain kitchen cat. Children do have to be old enough to take his set backs (6-7) but if they can handle suspense and realise that he'll make it in the end it's brilliant. He's such a quiet gentle hero and he can't bear to be unkind. It's just lovely.
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on 9 February 2011
I have just finished reading this to my seven year old son, having loved it as a child myself. He was totally captivated by it, complete with gasps of 'Oh no!' and hoorays at the ups and down of the plot. We've also read 'Spid' and 'The Adventures of the Little Wooden Horse', both of which he also loved. However, Gobbolino topped them all. I'd say they are the first books we've read together which have elicited such excited responses as we read them. Very easy to read out loud and a complete joy.
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Have read this out loud to my six-year-old daughter. She is very taken with Gobbolino's regular career changes, as he starts out as a witch's cat, then becomes an orphanage cat, a show cat, a ship's cat, a royal cat, a Punch & Judy cat etc. etc., when all he really wants to do is become a kitchen cat.

This charming and sensitive story for 7+ self-readers was written in the 1940s, and is set in a slightly old-fashioned fairy-tale world of witches, knights, hobgoblins, and a variety of very human people. Gobbolino was born a witch's kitten, but he doesn't want to practise black magic. After his mistress the witch abandons him, he goes from household to household looking for a place as an ordinary kitchen cat, but everywhere there is a reason for his witch's cat past to surface and for him to be put back on the road again, sobbing as he goes at his constant rejection by the world.

It's actually very deep, and children can relate to being small, unloved and abandoned - but it's still cosy enough for bedtime!

I also first encountered the story when it was serialised in "Storyteller" magazine in the 1980s.
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