By: Lynnette A. Murray-Gibson
Illustrated by: Nancy Scheibe
Publisher: Five Star Publications
Publication Date: May 2009
Reviewed by: Holly Connors
Review Date: August 2009
Mr. Twiddles is a big, plump, and rather grouchy cat. He had a good life, sitting around in his favorite chair, soaking up the sun. That was until Clara the cleaning lady stepped into Mr. Twiddles’ house, vacuum in hand, ready to clean. Mr. Twiddles did not like to be bothered by anybody. The opinionated cat glared at Clara, and asked her, “Who are you and what do you want?” “My name is Clara, and who are you?” came the reply. Mr. Twiddles was astounded to hear Clara talk back to him!
So begins the sweet tale of one grumpy cat and a very lovable (and patient!) cleaning lady. Mr. Twiddles does everything in his power to make a mess of the house, hoping his owners will ask Clara to leave. But the talented cleaning woman just smiles and cleans up mess after mess. The last cleaning task is to vacuum up the dust balls and dirt on the cat’s favorite chair and Mr. Twiddles tries to stop Clara. Unable to keep the cleaning woman from her job, the cat finally leaves in disgust. When the noise of the vacuum stops, Mr. Twiddles reluctantly returns and is thrilled to see his chair, clean, and smelling fresh. After a rough start, Mr. Twiddles and Clara are now great friends.
Clara Meets Mr. Twiddles offers children a delightful tale that educates as it entertains. Mr. Twiddles learns an important lesson from his experience; not to judge people by their outward appearance. The ornery cat initially sees Clara as “…wearing a purple sweat suit and a purple scarf tied around her head… the strangest creature he’d ever seen.” But he learns that Clara is a wonderful, caring individual and by book’s end, adores her.
The illustrations in Clara Meets Mr. Twiddles are bright and eye-catching. Lots of purple and vivid yellow drawings (including purple paw prints on every text page) are sure to delight children.
A special note that the author is donating a portion of the sales of Clara Meets Mr. Twiddles to support her foundation which funds literacy and educational services in her native Liberia.
Quill says: A sweet tale about a grumpy cat and a kindhearted cleaning woman.