Book Review: Miss Mink: Life Lessons for a Cat Countess, Janet Hill

Miss Mink: Life Lessons for a Cat Countess
Author/Illustrator: Janet Hill
Publisher: Tundra Books, Penguin Random House
Ages: 4-8
Genre: Picture book

This picture book is a bit curious. I’ll just be honest. It is also posh and prim compared to what I normally review, and I would venture to argue it isn’t really a “story.” Nevertheless, Miss Mink has something distinctly lovely about it, and it packs in a whole lot of whimsy.

The book opens by introducing us to Miss Mink, a cat countess with sixty-seven feline friends, tells readers a bit about her, and then proceeds to share twenty cat-approve lessons for living a purrrfect life. We learn to “start the day off right with a proper grooming,” and “spend some quality time alone every now and then.” The smile-inducing lessons encourage expression, curiosity, patience, dreaming, and being filled with love.

And perhaps a list of didactic life lessons is a bit strange for a picture book, until you stop just reading the words and start looking at the illustrations. Oh, the illustrations! Each life lesson is accompanied by an immensely gorgeous, ornate oil painting of Miss Mink and her cats which feels like it would do well on the cover of a high fashion magazine. Each image has a historical feel about it with the appearance that it may have been taken off the wall of an elegant museum or Buckingham Palace. The author/illustrator Janet Hill is well-known for her painting (Tiffany & Co., and Hallmark UK are some of her clients), and this book has pages that would look at home in a gilded frame.

So, while I’m not sure I would highly recommend that you read this book, I sure do recommend that you see it. This fanciful tale is a refreshing deviation from the norm and is likely to be a favorite of little lovers of mischievous felines, art, or high fashion.

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