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4.8 out of 5 stars
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4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 29 July 2004
Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats is a superb book of light verse. Some of the language might be a little difficult for young children (though it's always good to learn new words), but your kids are certain to warm to such a disreputable bunch of street-cats! Adults too will enjoy the skill and wit of Eliot's rhymes. Personal, I'm a big fan of the poet and I rate this collection alongside The Wasteland and The Love song of J. Alfred Prufrock.
Of all the editions available I think this is the one to own. Edward Gorey's illustrations are very funny (particularly his illustration of 'Firefrorefiddle the Fiend of the Fell!'). If you don't get this one, then the Faber pocket series with the cat painting on the cover is also very nice (that one contains the original illustrations, which are quite sweet).
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on 5 February 2015
As a cat lover, I've wanted this book for a long time so finally got round to sorting out the nicest edition and buying it. This is a gorgeous book and the full colour illustrations by Axel Scheiffer are what distinguishes this volume from every other Possum's. Even the dustcover has great graphics.
This is a book which both children and adults would like. It has a layout and font which would appeal to children and the paper is magazine-glossy so any mucky fingerprints could be wiped off.
I bought it for me and I'm glad I did, despite a few hiccups with one of the sellers (who no longer sells this book).
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on 30 October 2009
Remembered from school days, brought back many fond memories, enjoyed the poems even more now than in my school days. Liked the black and white illustrations, they add to the humourous note. Funny and gently wicked antics of these memorable cats. A real joy!!!
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on 5 July 1999
Although easily outselling The Wasteland or, probably, all of Eliot's other works put together, this richly worded collection is frequently dismissed by critics as frivolous. The poems are rarely included in Eliot anthologies and are probably much more frequently read by children than by adults.
However, there is much in Old Possum to intrigue the literary critic - as well as his/her child.
Firstly, the mixture of sounds, the repetition and the language are all distincly Eliot's own. His recurrent themes of the passing of time and nostalgia are all there, and couched in a glorious rhythm so in tune with, say, Four Quartents, that it does not take an expert to find the similarities.
To the child: read this book for fun. To the adult familiar with Eliot's less accessible works: read it to remind yourself of the man behind the poet.
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A masterpiece from the late Mr.Eliot a wonderful poet with a sense of humour. Fabulous, fascinating,feline frolics. Anyone who likes/loves cats will know how observant the great man is of our pussy pals.
A well presented and illustrated little book for all ages.
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on 1 March 2001
I bought the book as I was taking my 10 year old daughter to see the Musical for her birthday. Just as well, I think we would have been totally lost at the theatre if we had not read each poem carefully until we understood each story. We found the language complicated and at times hard to read, probably because it is an old book with old-fashioned language. Even so we persevered and came to understand the text. The characters and events in each poem are wonderfully detailed, you feel you know each cat intimately. My daughter loves poetry and now reads this book regulary - it seems to be even more enjoyable to her, now she can relate to the 'CATS' from the musical.
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on 15 December 2009
We used to own the same performance on a cassette tape, but it disappeared. I looked everywhere I could think and was so relieved that I could order it on cd from you. It arrived very quickly and was in perfect condition.

We have been enjoying it so much. It is delightful and brings back great memories. John Gielgud and Irene Worth are magnificent.
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on 31 October 2010
Chosing to have this book illustrated by Grufallo artist Axel Scheffler is a masterstroke, and the verse shows how much of a debt long-time Scheffler collaborator Julia Donaldson holds to TS Eliot.
Am must for all Eliot, Donaldson/Scheffler and cat fans.
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on 16 March 2015
Have been looking for this book since Waterstones stopped stocking it as my daughter and I love the musical Cats and wanted to read and learn about all the different cats.

And if you didn't know:
All the poems in this book have been beautifully set to music by Andrew Lloyd Webber.
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on 18 May 2015
Ever since seeing the recording of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical of Cats, I've been intrigued by the book of poems the musical was inspired by, Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot. It's a charming book of poetry that will delight child and adult alike - especially those who love cats!

It was great to see familiar characters within the poems, such as Macavity, and Munojerrie and Rumpelteazer, who were very memorable from the musical. Was sad to see Grizabella - the cat who sings Memory in the musical - doesn't actually feature in the original poetry book, but there are quite a few characters that did originate from Practical Cats. From what I remember, the lyrics are pretty close to the original poems, so I would hear the the music in my head as I read. Saying that, there's no storyline like there is in the musical; no Jellicle Ball, no cat being chosen to go to the Heaviside Layer to be reborn by Old Deutronomy.

Axel Scheffler's illustrations are quirky and familiar from the picture books Scheffler has illustrated. Seeing what the cats get up to along with the poems will have young children giggling as they're being read to.

A wonderful book of poetry, and a great addition to any bookcase.
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