Saturday Nine: Bonanza

Jenny Linsky and Her Friends

When I was a little girl, my Mom read me a story about a shy little black cat named Jenny Linsky. I loved it, so we got another, and another, and another, all of them about Jenny and her cat friends.

I recently remembered these books. Don't ask me how or why; how do memories bubble up to the surface anyway? In any case, I decided to see if they actually existed or if I was fabricating the little cat with the red scarf.

I found all of the books on Amazon; the author is Esther Averill. I immediately bought Jenny's Moonlight Adventure, the book I remembered best. I was a little worried that it wouldn't live up to my fond memories, that it would be cheesy or too babyish or too rooted in 1950s sensibilities - to Dick and Jane-y, I guess.

Jenny's Moonlight Adventure

But it wasn't. Even though it's written for little kids, it's well written and so sweet and charming. It's quite short, though. Here's the plot synopsis from the New York Review Books:

At nine o’clock The Cat Club will convene to celebrate this wondrous Halloween night in Jenny’s Moonlight Adventure. All the cats, from twins Romulus and Remus through to the wise Solomon, have been looking forward to this evening. The high point of the party is to be the nose flute performance by the Persian cat Madame Butterfly, but she has hurt herself, cannot leave her house, and has lost her instrument. The flute is found in a pile of autumn leaves but there’s still the problem of how to return the flute to its beautiful Persian owner. Jenny comes up with a very adventurous plan. After all, Halloween is “her” night. But will she pull it off?

It has a gentle lesson on being brave and conquering fears. The other cats in the Cat Club are all very supportive and cheer Jenny on.

Of course, I had to buy more. They are longer (over 100 pages each), but they are all just as lovely and sweet. So far, I have:

  • Jenny and the Cat Club, a collection of stories about Jenny and her friends in the Cat Club, which meets nightly in the garden behind Jenny's house.
  • Jenny Goes to Sea, in which Jenny and her adopted brothers, Edward and Checkers, sail around the world with Captain Tinker, their human, and take shore excursions with Jack Tar, the ship's cat.
  • The Hotel Cat, in which Tom, a street cat, finds a home in the Royal Hotel and helps put on the Stardust Ball for the Cat Club, and
  • Captains of the City Streets, Sinbad and The Duke, two rough tramp cats, find a home of their own and join the Cat Club.

I love them all, but I think Jenny Goes to Sea might be my favorite.

So, if you know a little kid who loves cats and adventures, try a Jenny Linsky book. And if you don't know a little kid who loves cats and adventures, try a Jenny Linsky book.