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Shop Cat

Shop Cat

The cat turned up one Tuesday lunchtime, and no one ever found out where she came from.

There she was, curled up fast asleep in the front window – a small, neat cat. Hattie stopped outside to look, thinking at first it was a toy she hadn’t seen before. A very lifelike one! Cat-sized, with real whiskers, and fur of a rich, dark colour – not black, not ginger, but a mixture of both. There she slept, on the patterned cloth Uncle Theo had spread out in the window where toys were displayed. She was snuggled between a big panda and a model lighthouse.

Hattie went inside. She came here every day after school, to help Uncle Theo until Mum collected her on the way home from work. She knew she was lucky to have a great-uncle with his own toyshop. Teddy and May, it was called. Teddy was Uncle Theo, and May was Aunty May, who’d died last year. But the shop would always be Teddy and May, because it sounded so nice. On the shop sign, Teddy was a smart teddy bear, and May a smiling doll.

“No, I don’t know whose cat she is,” Uncle Theo was saying to a customer. “She just walked in.”

“Cats are like that,” said the man. Ting! went the doorbell as he left, carrying the jigsaw puzzle he’d bought.

Uncle Theo gave Hattie a kiss and a cuddle, then fetched her a glass of juice and a ginger biscuit from the back kitchen. With her mouth full, she went to the window for a closer look at the cat.

“How d’you know she’s a she?” she asked her uncle.

“Tortoiseshells generally are,” Uncle Theo told her. “A male would be ginger.”

Tortoiseshell! Hattie liked the word – though she’d never seen a tortoise with a shell of such rich, glowing colour. The cat was so still that it was hard to believe she wasn’t a toy, like the panda next to her. Hattie couldn’t resist reaching out to stroke the lovely fur. At once the cat stretched and yawned, showing sharp white teeth.

“You are real!” said Hattie.

The cat certainly was. It looked back at her, with eyes that were bright and very green. At once, Hattie saw that this was a clever cat. Sharpness and cleverness shone from those green, green eyes.

I know you, those eyes seemed to say. I knew I’d find you here.

The cat jumped down from the window, and began to twist and twine herself round Hattie’s legs – round and round, between her feet, in and out. Her back was arched and her tail high. She purred loudly, as if to say, I’ll be your friend.

“She did that before, when she first came in,” said Uncle Theo. “Nearly tripped me up.”

“What will you call her?”

Uncle Theo shook his head. “Oh, I shan’t give her a name. She belongs to someone, I’m sure. They’ll come and find her.”

Hattie hoped no one would. The cat had come here to find her. Those sharp green eyes seemed to say so, quite clearly.


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Hattie likes helping her uncle in his toyshop and business has been booming since Twister came to live there. She’s certainly a mysterious cat, but could she be magical too? Curl up with Cat Tales from award-winning and enchanting storyteller, Linda Newbery.

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Book Information

Key Stage
KS1/2 E
Book Band
Accelerated Reader level
3.8 LY
ISBN: 9780746097304
Extent: 80 pages
Dimensions: 198 x 130mm

Linda Newbery

Linda Newbery wrote her first novel during the summer holidays from her job as English teacher in a comprehensive school. Now a critically acclaimed full-time author, Linda has written over twenty novels, been shortlisted twice for the Carnegie Medal, and is the winner of a Silver Medal Nestle Children’s Book Prize and the Costa Children’s Book Award. Linda does much of her work in a writing hut in her garden but is often distracted by her own four cats ...

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Longlisted for the UK Literacy Association Award 2010

The UKLA award honours those writers whose use of language engages the young reader in a powerful way that enhances the storytelling.

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“More enchanting tales of feline frolics from acclaimed author Linda Newbery.”
“Newbery’s delightful "Cat Tales" capture all the animal magic to keep young readers turning the pages. Her two new stories, "Shop Cat" and "Smoke Cat", are guaranteed to enchant, with an easy-to-read text and charming drawings of the fun-filled felines and their human friends. Two irresistible additions to Newbery’s award-winning series.”
“A simple little book with nice illustrations and clear easy to follow text will be a delight to early readers. The stories follow the adventures of various cats and will capture the imagination of young readers.”
“This is one of four lovely titles in the new Cat Tales series by one of my favourite children’s writers.”
“With four cats of her own, award-winning Newbery has created a really endearing series for newly fledged young readers, with satisfying plots, interesting characters and plenty of pictures.”