Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Lulu and the Cat in the Bag

Lulu and the Cat in the Bag

Hilary McKay
Illustrator:  Priscilla Lamont 
Fiction  Series
For ages 6 to 9
Albert Whitman and Company, 2013   ISBN: 978-0807548042

One day Lulu and her cousin Mellie find a bag sitting on Lulu’s doorstep. It is a very big and lumpy bag, and the girls notice that a snoring sound is coming from it. There is something alive in there!

Mellie thinks that caution is required in this situation, but Lulu starts to open the bag. She is stopped from fully untying the bag by Nan, who is staying at Lulu’s house while Lulu’s parents, and Mellie’s parents, are on holiday in Spain. Staying at Lulu’s house is not easy for Nan because she does not really like animals and Lulu has a lot of pets.

Nan insists that Lulu should not, must not, open the bag. Lulu has enough pets she says. Lulu is sure that there is a cat in the bag, but surely it isn’t possible that just one cat can be that big. Nan goes to call the Humane Society, the police, and the wildlife park to find someone who can deal with this unacceptable situation, and while she is gone Lulu opens the bag.

The animal inside the bag is indeed a cat. Just one very large cat who, thinking that Lulu wants to rebag it, runs away. Later in the day Lulu is about to set out to look for the cat when she finds it. In her room. Lulu is delighted. When it sees her, the cat, who has had a really dreadful day, wonders if it should jump back out of the window. Lulu, who understands animals very well, knows what it is thinking and she arranges her room so that it is cat-friendly. She then leaves to give her feline guest some space.

Lulu, Mellie, and Nan take care of all the other pets in the house and then, when Nan dozes off, Lulu shows Mellie what she has hidden in her bedroom. The girls feed the cat and cuddle it, but later it disappears out of the window. In the night it returns, and it brings gifts with it. Flowers. Lots of flowers.

The next morning Nan finds the big cat on Lulu’s bed and though she feeds it, she announces that Lulu has to find a home for the cat. Though it is true that Lulu’s dogs and her parrot don’t like the cat, Lulu does not give up hope that the enormous flower-loving animal will become a member of the family. One way or another.

Readers are going to love this surprised-filled, heartwarming story. With rich and colorful characters, and delightful touches of humor throughout, this is a tale that lends itself to being read again and again.

This is the third title in the Lulu series, a collection of books that children who like animals will fall in love with.