By Maureen Tai, 6 June 2021
At its heart, middle-grade novel The Cat Who Came In Off The Roof (ages 9+) by Dutch author, Annie M.G. Schmidt is a love story. Mr. Tibbles is a cat-loving reporter who has run out of stories. Minou is a cat-like young lady who has odd behavioural traits. They meet. Or more accurately, Mr. Tibbles saves Minou from an angry dog. Minou moves in (sleeping in a box in Tibble’s junk room). Mr. Tibbles becomes privy to interesting news, relayed by Minou and gathered from a network of feline sources. They solve a crime together. And yes, they fall in love. While this book – written half a century ago – features mostly adult protagonists (almost unheard of now for middle grade books), they are charming, interesting and whimsical enough to appeal to young children. Cat lovers in particular, will adore the memorable cast of cat characters, from the brazen Tatter Cat to the rather clueless History Cat to the rotund Metropole Cat. A short, fun read for the summer.