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Thursday, November 10, 2005

Whittington written by Alan Armstrong

Whittington as written by Alan Armstrong is an interesting retelling of the Tale of Dick Whittington and his Cat within another story concerning a group of animals living together in an old barn and the way they help Ben, a young boy with dyslexia, learn how to read. The story within a story is related in segments by a cat named Whittington who claims to be decendent from the original Whittington's cat. He finds a home in the barn with Lady, a duck, two horses, a rooster and bantam hens after being somewhat thrown out of his original home. Whittington the cat is determined to help Ben because of the boy who was his first owner, who also had difficulties learning to read.

The retelling of the classic tale of Dick Whittington and his Cat helps Ben, and his sister Abby who is directly trying to teach Ben to read, realize that he, to0, can conquer the difficulties in his life. This is a bit of a "talking animal" fantasy as the children understand what the animals are saying enough to enjoy the storytelling and communicate fully with them. Other animals are added into the mix until there is quite the menagerie.

This is a warm tale, not difficult to read, and would be very good as a family read aloud.

The author has also included information about the real Richard Whittington who was born in the late fourteenth century in England and how the legend of Dick Whittington and His Cat came to be. Sources used for information about rats, plants, the habits of the other animals, and other topics of interest and importance in the stories are also found in the endnote. I very much appreciate this information, not just to show that research was done to be truthful in the telling of both stories, but so I may also access information about some of these topics that interest me personally. I thank the author, Alan Armstrong for including his sources.

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