A classical book written and
illustrated by a much loved children’s author whose characters have
become an art form, decorating china, posters, and collectibles in shops
Mrs Tabitha Twitchit has three mischievous kittens, Moppet, Mittens,
and the worst of them all, Tom. She wants to make a pudding and as
kittens just get in the way, she puts them in a cupboard – at least
Moppet and Mittens, for she can’t find Tom. She searches for him aided
by her strict friend Mrs Ribby who happened to pop by. Mrs Ribby is of
the “kittens must be beaten if they don’t behave” mentality and she is
cross that Tom is so naughty, and even crosser when she learns there
are rats about the place.
While they are searching the big old house, Moppet and Mittens jump
out of the cupboard, and mess about with the pudding. Suddenly
frightened by two fat rats and leap headfirst into a flour barrel and milk
jar where they are found by their mother and the increasingly outraged
Meanwhile, Tom Kitten, has hidden up the chimney because he didn’t
want to be put in the cupboard, which I must say does sound a bit cruel
to me. The chimney’s a perilous place because the fire is hot and
crackling, and he is covered in soot. He knocks out a loose stone and
peeping through the hole, he sees bones.
Ignoring any thoughts that things maybe a little dangerous, and clearly
totally unaware that curiosity killed the cat, he goes through the hole
into a passage which leads to the back of a skirting board in the attic.
has never been here before, and he soon learns why his mother has
avoided the spot, for there sits a very large fat rat, called Samuel
Whiskers who summons his bossy little wife to cook dusty, sooty Tom
into a nice Roly-Poly pudding for tea. Anna Maria obliges and soon Tom
is well wrapped up in the dough his mother has made, with only his
head and tail sticking out.
Rescue is at hand for Mrs Twitchit has sent for John Joiner, a very useful
dog who has a bag of tools to help him get through floorboards. The
rats abandon Tom and go and live in a barn and Tom is returned to his
mother and the by now totally scandalised Mrs Ribby.
Moppet and Mittens grow up to make an excellent living catching rats in
the barn, for the farmer is now plagued with the descendents of Samuel
Whiskers and Anna Maria. Tom, on the other hand, won’t go near
anything larger than a mouse.
The book is dedicated to Sammy, who is illustrated as a very large pot-
bellied rat, who has an astonishing resemblance to the Samuel Whiskers
in the story.