Book Review: A Castle Full of Cats by Ruth Sanderson

If you were a queen, would you fill your castle with cats?

In Ruth Sanderson’s delightful A Castle Full of Cats, the queen adores her dozens of cats to distraction. She hosts them at her table, paints their portraits, applauds their art, and encourages their attempts to befriend the king.

The cats “tried their best to please him in oh-so-clever ways” so he, too, would love them.

Copyright image. Taken from my copy of the book.

The following pages are filled with the cats’ antics, cleverly spun to help us believe the good will of their naughty acts. Who would have thought cats sit on books to study them so they could win our affection? Clearly leaving mice in the king’s shoe is a treat.

Every page of this beautifully-illustrated book is full of cats of every size and color caught in various modes feline amusement. From sleeping on shelves to warming the king’s chair to batting at the royal flowers, everywhere you look there is a furry friend.

And the king decides he’s had enough!

Sanderson’s illustration style not only captures the elegance of the castle, but the whimsy of such a sweet story. Her attention to detail creates a masterpiece for each page and encourages the reader to study each one to ensure nothing was missed. I especially enjoyed the king’s expressions.

Some of you already know my love for poetry in children’s books, so it was a delight to read this rhyme aloud again and again. Rhythm and rhyming in picture books provides an additional layer of enjoyment and depth to the experience, and Sanderson proves her skill.

Copyright image. Taken from my copy of the book.

Alas, poor cats, the king did find the cats were not his choice. He leaves “in a huff” and is gone for some time. When he returns, the cats all gather together and stare in shock, wondering … “Is this the end of all our games?”

I recommend this book for any family library, cat lover, and/or picture book collector. Sanderson’s masterful talent in illustration and story telling creates a terrific book to be read again and again. And if you want to know what the king brought home you can find a copy here, along with many of her other fantastic books!

What are your thoughts?