Review: The Nine Lives of Aristotle by Dick King-Smith & Bob Graham


Title: The Nine Lives of Aristotle

Author: Dick King-Smith

Illustrator: Bob Graham

Publisher: Candlewick

ISBN: 978-0763622602


May Contain Spoilers

This was another random check out from the library.  I saw the fuzzy mop of a kitty hanging onto the tree limb for dear life, and suddenly needed to know how he had gotten himself into such a pickle.  After reading The Nine Lives of Aristotle, a book aimed at Grades 2 – 4, I have my answer – Aristotle is just too curious for his own good!

I have to admit that I wasn’t all that fond of this book.  The main premise didn’t agree with me, and if I had read the jacket flap instead of judging the book by its cover, I would have known that going in.  This story follows along as the curious kitty burns through most of his nine lives.  His new person, the kind witch Bella Donna, spends most of her time fishing him out of one deadly adventure after another.  When it seems that he would ignorantly waste all of the lives available to him, I started to get pretty depressed.  He is such a cute ball of fluff, and he didn’t deserve to fall down chimneys, almost drown, not once, but twice! and narrowly escape being eaten by a very large dog.  Gasp!  It was all too much for me.

That is not to say that the book is all gloomy and almost gruesome finales for our cat.  In the end, Aristotle lives a happy, cushy life with his witch.  I think the fate of Old Gripper, the dog, is what bummed me out the most, because there wasn’t much reason for his final fate.  It didn’t move the plot forward, and it left me rather sad. 

The illustrations are whimsical and more cartoony in nature, which softened the suspense of Aristotle’s close calls.  A kitty that round and fluffy can’t die, after all.  There is a wonderful sense of humor bundled up in all of the watercolors, and I quite enjoyed the art.

While I was not charmed out of my socks by The Nine Lives of Aristotle, I did enjoy it enough to want to read more by both Dick King-Smith and Bob Graham.  I just hope there are fewer dire circumstances in my next picks!

Grade:  C+

Review copy obtained from the library