A Picture Book
cover of You Can’t Rush a Cat by Karleen Bradford
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Summary ~ Reviews

AND: Read a letter from Leslie about the illustrating of this book.
  • Winner of the 2005 Saskatchewan Young Readers’ Choice Shining Willow Award

  • Canadian Children’s Book Centre Our Choice, 2004

  • Chosen as one of the year’s Best Bets for 2003 by the Ontario Library Association

  • Named as an Honour Book for the Blue Spruce Award, 2004

  • One of the Best Books of 2003, Resource Links Magazine

  • Nominated for the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Award for Illustration, 2004

  • Chosen by the Bank Street College of Education in New York as one of the best books published in 2003


Jessica went to visit her grandfather.

He lived by himself and sometimes he got lonely.

When she got there, her grandfather was sitting on the back step holding a bowl of milk.

“There’s a wild little cat in the bushes,” he said. “She must be hungry, but she won’t come out.”

“You can’t rush a cat,” Jessica said.

Jessica’s grandfather is eager to meet the wild little cat who streaks into the house and hides in the basement, but Jessica knows that it takes great patience to woo a cat. She waits and waits and then, near the end of her visit, she sits down in the middle of the kitchen floor and puts to work all her knowledge of felines. When she goes home, her grandfather has a new friend.

Orca Book Publishers, 2003


Booklist, February 2004

“Gr. 2 - 3. A child helps her sometimes lonely grandfather hook up with a fuzzy friend in this simple, low-key charmer. Jessica’s weeklong visit turns into a waiting game as her grandpa tries to lure a small, wild cat out from under the bushes. Rightly commenting that cats can’t be hurried, Jessica watches, catching only an occasional glimpse of orange as dishes of milk on the porch and an open door eventually draw the elusive cat inside. Sharp-eyed viewers will pick out the small paw, or tail tip, that signals the cat’s presence in each of Watts’ clean-lined, restrained scenes. With time on her visit running out, Jessica at last teases the cat out of hiding and into her lap, and in a cozy final picture, the cat finds Grandpa’s lap just as inviting. Thoughtful children will see broad applications to this quiet lesson in patience.”

John Peters

School Library Journal, February 2004

“PreS-Gr. 3. Jessica helps her grandfather slowly lure a small orange stray inside and it’s not long before the creature finds her way into their hearts...Portraying an adorable and irresistible kitten, the soft watercolor illustrations effectively capture the emotions of each moment. Many pictures hold hints of the hidden animal, part of a paw or a shadow, and the house is filled with cat-themed items. A quiet, well-told story celebrating the companionship and solace only a feline can bring.”

Jane Marino, Bronxville Public Library, NY

Canadian Materials, Volume X, Number 1. September 5, 2003

“Bradford’s use of simple language and fairly short sentences sets the story’s calm, soft mood. The text, coupled with Watts’ illustrations, builds suspense. Watts provides small glimpses of the cat - a tail curled around a paint can in the cellar, the shadow of the cat’s head, a forepaw peeking out of the tall grass - to indicate the cat’s presence, but still elusive nature...The close relationship between Jessica and her grandfather is evident through both the text and the illustrations.”


Gail Hamilton is a teacher-librarian at Bird’s Hill School in East St. Paul, MB.

Mary Lynn Potter, Librarian

“In this delightful tale, Jessica tries to help her grandfather understand that you can’t rush a like you, to show itself to you, to crawl into your lap. Through Jessica’s patience, she and her grandfather find a new friend to love and cuddle. The repetitive title, you can’t rush a cat, gives the right reminder to the reader as this gentle story moves slowly along—a caring, sharing story. A recommend purchase for all libraries.”

Mary Lynn Potter, Librarian
Lake Forest Park Elementary
Lake Forest Park, WA

The Mount Forest Confederate

“You Can’t Rush a Cat is a story about a little girl named Jessica who shows her grandfather that it takes great thought and patience to win over the little wild cat that has moved into the basement. Not only is it a wonderful story, but the illustrations in the book are absolutely gorgeous.”

Lynne Pinnegar, Editor

Resource Links, Volume 9, Number 2, December 2003

“...This is a lovely book, with a calm (and calming) pace. The exploration of relationships, with an emphasis on patience and acceptance, is presented in a gentle way. The lonely man and wild kitten find solace and companionship, thanks to the persistence of a creative child.

“Children from preschool to grade 3 will enjoy this story, which lends itself to reading together—preferably curled up in a comfortable chair with purring nearby.”

Reviewed by Kathryn McNaughton