The Cat Who Lived with Anne Frank

David Lee Miller and Steven Jay Rubin; Eliz­a­beth Bad­de­ley, illus.

  • Review
By – February 25, 2019

This beau­ti­ful­ly illus­trat­ed pic­ture book tells the sto­ry of Anne Frank and her world through the eyes of her pet cat Mouschi, who Anne wrote about in her diary. Mouschi tells of his life in hid­ing with those he calls the Yel­low Stars,” who need to stay hid­den from the Black Spi­der Sol­diers” and their dogs. As the only mem­ber of the fam­i­ly liv­ing in the attic over the spice fac­to­ry who is free to roam the streets of Ams­ter­dam, Mouschi describes the sit­u­a­tion: Yel­low Stars being herd­ed into cars and tak­en away, many being hid­den above the ani­mal cages in the Artis Zoo, and chil­dren being res­cued from a Jew­ish the­ater-turned-prison by a brave red-haired girl lat­er named in the authors’ notes as Dutch Resis­tance fight­er Han­nie Schaft.

Many books for chil­dren about Anne Frank and her fam­i­ly have been pub­lished in the past sev­er­al years and, with some notable excep­tions, most are retellings of what Anne wrote in her diary about her and her family’s expe­ri­ences in hid­ing. This book approach­es the top­ic from a dif­fer­ent angle, using a pet as nar­ra­tor, which will appeal to many chil­dren and pro­vides a com­fort­ing dis­tance from a trou­bling sub­ject. It is a gen­tle but effec­tive intro­duc­tion to one aspect of the Holo­caust, and to this well-known family.

The two appen­dices pro­vide more infor­ma­tion about Anne and her life, and about the real places and peo­ple ref­er­enced in the sto­ry. There is also a com­pre­hen­sive bib­li­og­ra­phy use­ful for fur­ther read­ing for both par­ents and children.

This book makes an excel­lent read-aloud as well as an inde­pen­dent read for more advanced read­ers. It is an excel­lent resource for intro­duc­ing the Holo­caust in classrooms.

Mindy Langer is a retired pedi­a­tri­cian and grand­moth­er of two. She vol­un­teers in numer­ous capac­i­ties for her syn­a­gogue and is vol­un­teer read­er of med­ical texts for Learn­ing Ally, a ser­vice that pro­vides record­ed books for stu­dents with print dis­abil­i­ties. She sings in a large com­mu­ni­ty choir and is an avid quil­ter. In choos­ing books for chil­dren she most enjoys those that are both chal­leng­ing and fun for the chil­dren as well as enter­tain­ing for the adults read­ing to them.

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