Saturday, January 1, 2011
Cats and Cupcakes
"Cats don't like cupcakes," said an eleven-year-old annoying people-type patron to her (probably) six-year-old younger sibling. This was overheard at my library's circulation desk by one of my reliable sources.
Now, I generally don't find children annoying (unless they grab my tail or fur, which will result in a quick, deft slash from my foreclaws), but this comment, please excuse the pun, rather took the cake. The elder child was apparently objecting to her younger counterpart's decision to check-out from our library If You Give a Cat a Cupcake, written by Laura Numeroff and illustrated by Felicia Bond. We'll get to the book momentarily, but first allow me to disabuse this 'Tweenie of her misconception.
I momentarily digress to explain terminology. 'Tweens is an age classification used for marketing purposes (in business as well as libraries) to target products for persons (particularly girls) between ages eight and fourteen [source].
Now, back to the show. The eleven-year-old girl made an erroneous overgeneralization. Take it from one who knows: Felines like anything that tastes good, and cupcake icing is sweet, which admittedly doesn't appeal to every cat, but there are those among us who have the proverbial sweet tooth, and so we are inclined to take a chomp out of an errant cupcake now and again. The legendary Punkin, a marmalade cat (the "M" on the forehead is the giveaway) from Bloomington, thirty years ago wrestled an entire cherry pie from its kitchen cabinet enclosure (Punkin was a master of the "doorknob principle") and wolfed down about two-thirds of it before his human caregivers, The Lady With the Red Hair and Scowl-Face, could wrench it from his firm grasp. The analogy is sweetness; there was enough sugar in that pie to strangle a slobberdog. Ergo, erudite kitties like sweet foods, and cupcakes are sweet, therefore . . . (You can connect the dots.)
Besides, If You Give a Cat a Cupcake is not an empirical analysis of feline behavior. It is a young children's book, with loads of whimsical drawings that little kiddies love to look over, wide-eyed and entranced. The prose cleverly uses language to weave a circular narrative, bringing the reader (or listener, if an adult is reading to a very young person) back to the point of departure. In short, it is a playful romp, which youngsters will find delightful, and the young child who checked out the book will have some fun reading it with a grownup human, so my advice to 'Tweenie is to back-off, find a book that interests you, and use your library card to check that out. Let your younger relative have some fun. You're much too young to be so uptight, even for a human.
All this cupcake talk has made me hungry. The Lady With the Red Hair makes awesome cupcakes, so I'll be expecting a batch later this evening. Keep them away from Scowl-Face, however; that guy could use less carry-on luggage, if you catch my drift.
Letting me eat cake (merci, Mlle. Marie Antoinette),
Cauli Le Chat
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