MOG'S Birthday by Judith Kerr


MOG'S Birthday by Judith Kerr
Review Copy from HarperCollins

One of the few picture books from my childhood that left a decades long impression on me is Mog the Forgetful Cat by Judith Kerr, originally published in 1970. You can read my slightly rambling, 2011 review of this book as well as my review of Kerr's semi-autobiographical novel for children chronicling her family's flight from Nazi Germany, When Hitler Stole the Pink RabbitMog the Cat decided to take the long nap in the 2002 book, Goodbye Mog, with Kerr passing away at the age of ninety-five in 2019. Before she died, and in anticipation of Mog's 50th birthday in 2020, Kerr collaborated with HarperCollins to create this special. Using a selection of pictures from across fifty years of illustrating this famous cat, Mog's Birthday captures the essence of this phlegmatic, forgetful, sometimes fretful feline perfectly.

When Debbie tells Mog that it's her birthday and they are going to have a party for her, Mog begins to worry. She does not like birthday parties! Too many people in her house and possibly even a baby, and babies break things. Even worse, there might be SCARY things at the party. This two page spread shows a wide-eyed Mog (understandably) fleeing floating balloons. Mog heads into the garden to hide, parking herself in a tree where she promptly falls asleep and dreams a lovely dream of her kind of party - one with eggs, her favorite. When party time arrives, Debbie and Nicky look all over for Mog, finally parking themselves under a tree. Hearing them, and how sad they are that they can't celebrate Mog, Mog wakes up and jumps straight out of the tree. In one of my favorite Mog moments, she can be seen legs splayed, fear in her eyes, flinging herself from the tree. No matter what is scaring or troubling her, Mog shows up for her family! And the Thomas family shows up for her with a family-only party (no strange people) a new basket to sleep in and, of course, a cake.

As someone who has loved Mog for most of her fifty years, I am very happy to see her celebrated in this way.

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