Whittington by Alan Armstrong

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The power of reading is beautifully captured in this 2006 Newbery Honor-winning book.
Bernie keeps a barn full of animals the rest of the world has no use for–two retired trotters, a rooster, some banty hens, and a Muscovy duck with clipped wings who calls herself The Lady. When the cat called Whittington shows up one day, it is to the Lady that he makes an appeal to secure a place in the barn. The Lady’s a little hesitant at first, but when the cat claims to be a master ratter, that clinches it.
Bernie’ s orphaned grandkids, Abby and Ben, come to the barn every day to help feed the animals. Abby shares her worry that Ben can’t really read yet and that he refuses to go to Special Ed. Whittington and the Lady decide that Abby should give Ben reading lessons in the barn. It is a balm for Ben when, having toughed out the daily lesson, Whittington comes to tell, in tantalizing installments, the story handed down to him from his nameless forebearer, Dick Whittington’s cat–the legend of the lad born into poverty in rural England during the Black Death, who runs away to London to seek his fortune. This is an unforgettable tale about how learning to read saves one little boy. It is about the healing, transcendent power of storytelling and how, if you have loved ones surrounding you and good stories to tell, to listen to, and to read, you have just about everything of value in this world.

From the Hardcover edition.

About Alan Armstrong

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ALAN ARMSTRONG liked to read books such as Captains Courageous, Kim, and Treasure Island. As an adult he has worked as a lawyer, a traveling bookseller, and an author of books about children who are put to the test. Moon Girl is his fourth book for children. His first, Whittington, was awarded a Newberry Honor in 2006. He live in Massachusetts with his wife, Martha, a painter.
Published July 8, 2009 by Random House Books for Young Readers. 210 pages
Genres: Nature & Wildlife, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Into Bernie’s barn, filled with castoff animals he has either actively collected or hasn’t the heart to refuse, wanders Whittington the cat, an ugly bruiser of a tom who seeks community.

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Salt Lake County Library Services also has copies of the book at Bingham Creek Library, Draper Library, Herriman Library, Holladay Library, Hunter Library, Magna Library, Taylorsville Library, and Riverton Library.

Aug 07 2011 | Read Full Review of Whittington


Somewhat later, the name of Dick Whittington became attached to a 13th-century Persian folktale abut an orphan who obtained a fortune thanks to his amazing cat.As the seasons pass in Bernie's barn, Whittington entertains both animals and children with the tale of Dick Whittington and his cat, who...

Mar 03 2016 | Read Full Review of Whittington

Common Sense Media

Dick is helped by his cat, who steers him to both fortune and love, while Ben is helped by all the barn animals, who convince his sister to set up lessons in the barn, and convince him to try out the Reading Recovery program at school, despite the teasing of his classmates.

Jan 29 2006 | Read Full Review of Whittington


Over the course of several months, Abby, Ben and the barnyard animals listen with rapt attention as Whittington reveals how Dick rose from an impoverished child and became a wealthy London merchant --- which he achieved through his own determination and courage, along with a helping paw from his ...

Jul 26 2005 | Read Full Review of Whittington


The story of Dick and his cat, based in reality but told in legends dating back to the early 1600s and recounted in several modern books listed in the Endnote, is a rags-to-riches tale of a poor boy led to fame and fortune by an unusual pet with a knack for killing rats.

Jan 29 2006 | Read Full Review of Whittington

Curled Up With a Good Kid's Book

On another level, Ben and Abby, Bernie's grandchildren, grapple with Ben's failure to learn to read.

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