Friday Fiction – Lights, Camera, Cats

Lights, Camera, Cats cover

Lights, Camera, Cats!

Here’s a children’s chapter book from the dark ages of 1978. That’s forty years, people! No matter how cute the story, few books actually last the test of time. If anyone wants to make the case that this is some sort of children’s classic, I’m listening, but I’m not sure it is.

It’s a cute enough idea: Elizabeth sets up auditions for her five cats for a cat food commercial. Of course, her father works for a rival cat food company, so she has to do it behind his back. How a twelve year old kid takes five cats to New York City by herself is beyond me. Maybe “Sexy Norman” (who’s almost in high school! Swoon!!) will help her out.

Cat loving middle schoolers might still like it, but I’ll bet they are just as happy with the Warriors series by Erin Hunter and won’t even miss this one.


Lights Camera Cats front flap

Lights Camera Cats back flapLights Camera Cats excerpt


  1. I would have loved this when I was a kid…round about 1997 or so, when it was only 20 years out of date. Looks like the kind of thing our woefully out-of-date school library would have had, too. I suspect budget problems; it was a poorly-performing school in a not-so-well-off area. I hope they’ve updated the collection by now, though!

  2. If it’s not circulating, weed it … but there are some terrifically enjoyable non-classic books out there, often re-discovered via Goodreads, e-book re-releases, etc. I wouldn’t turf a book just because it’s 40 years old and not famous! This one sounds fun (I’m a sucker for kids-sneaking-to-NYC-to-audition books, e.g. Better Nate Than Ever, or even just kids-sneaking-to-NYC books, like From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E. Frankweiler).

  3. If you’re going to keep an old story with a cat in it, why not Newbery winner It’s Like This, Cat? I was completely entranced with idea of meeting a nice boy in Sam Goody’s in NYC who takes you out for a soda and tells you how he wants to keep a stray cat and his parents don’t understand!

  4. I would think that even for the decade the story takes place, the producers of the cat food commercial would hire a professional animal trainer to apply them a cat unless there was some kind of plot gimmick (like “Have your cat become the next star of our commercial contest”).

    Overall, it doesn’t sound like a horrible story from the expects provided :/. Maybe with a new cover and/or modern edits, it could be an enjoyable story.

  5. Personally, I think that a good rule of thumb is that if it’s truly a “classic”, it’ll get a reprint. Like the Lyle the Crocodile books. Buy the reprint. Don’t keep old, beat-up, kinda gross copies.

  6. I would totally read this book. But then, I would totally read a lot of cheesy things. And if that’s Norman on the cover, he IS kinda sexy with his turtleneck and softly feathered hair. Even the cat he’s holding thinks so, LOL.

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