The animals that live in Bernie’s barn are plagued by rats, so when a homeless cat named Whittington comes along and offers to “take care” of the rodent problem, he’s given a place to live in the barn. As day-to-day life carries out in and around Bernie’s barn, Whittington tells the others the fascinating story of his ancestor, the famous “Dick Whittington’s cat”.

With so many key characters and subplots going on at once, the story could easily become a mess; but not with this book. The author does a fine job switching from 15th century England to present day, keeping the reader completely absorbed with two distinct stories. The book’s format reminded me of the old Wishbone series on PBS, while the author’s style could be compared to E.B. White. The human and animal characters have kind hearts, the writing is excellent, and the story is interesting and educational (readers will learn some English folklore, botany, spice trading, and even more about animal behavior). Whittington is a lovely book, and a wonderful contribution to children’s literature.

Websites: Facts about Dick Whittington and his cat and Wikipedia about Dick Whittington

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