by Dorothy Grider
Illustrated by Raymond Burns
1950, 1966. 16 pages.
Genre: Childrens, Collector’s Item
Age Range: 3 – 7 years (and by that I mean 3 years olds would enjoy this being read to them) Reading level is more like 5 – 7.
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
This is the beautiful story of a small kitten who is born in a candy store and needs a home.
Once there was a cat named Candy. She was called Candy because she lived in Mr. Dobby’s candy store.
This was one of my favorite books when I was a child! I loved this book so much, I named one of my kittens “Peppermint”, because he looked and reminded me so much of the skinny, shy, and dirty white little kitten in the story! While my kitten, Peppermint didn’t get too happy of an ending— my grandfather ran over him in the driveway one day and didn’t tell me about it until after he let me worry about him and search for a week— the Peppermint in the story finds beauty, love and self confidence through the heart of a sad little girl.
Mr. Dobby owns a candy store. One day his cat, Candy gives birth to a litter of kittens and gives them all names after candy from his store. All of the kittens are healthy and beautiful, except for the runt, poor little Peppermint. It isn’t uncommon for runts to be smaller and less healthy than its siblings and it often catches a hard time from its siblings and mother alike. While Peppermint doesn’t get bullied by her family, she is very shy and appears to have no self-confidence in herself. When the children come to buy the kittens as their own, they look at Peppermint and simply comment that she is thin and sickly looking.
Pretty soon, all of the kittens have found a home but Peppermint, so she spends her days hiding in the storage room of the candy store sad and lonely, her white coat turning a dirty yellow from all the dust. One day a little girl comes into the store crying, sad that the other children who could afford to buy the kittens were planning on a kitten beauty contest at school. Taking pity on the girl, Mr. Dobby gives the girl Peppermint and she is instantly grateful. But how can a skinny, dirty little kitten win a beauty contest?
One bath and an accidental dip in blueing later, Peppermint is ready for the contest against all of her siblings. For those unfamiliar with blueing, it is a blue substance used to bring out the whiteness in fabric. Peppermint accidentally jumps into it while trying to get away from her bath and— remember what blueing does to the color white— it brings out her full potential and Peppermint is now clean, fluffy, confident and loved!
It’s a fairly simple and short story, but it moved my little heart when I was a kid, and I am so happy that I still have my copy, even if it is in poor condition. Perhaps my 5-star rating is biased due to the sentimental value, but I don’t care. 5 Stars! Anyone who still has a copy of this book in mint condition should hold on to it and take great care of it, as it is now a hard to find collector’s item. You can find them on Amazon as high as $136! That’s a steep climb from the books original price of just 29 cents!