I am a Cat!
Jitendra Thakur
age group: 
3+ yrs
Number of pages: 
slums ragpickers make believe humour cats
picture book, fiction

An urban Indian child might wonder, 'What's the life of a little girl living in a make-shift home in a slum? One whose family ekes a living by rag-picking.
Surprisingly, it is not at all dull and miserable, as we see in this book.
Tinti, a little girl wakes up one day in her little house in which her roof is merely a sheet of plastic.
She is in a playful mood, ‘I am a cat,’ she tells her mother and her mother happily plays along.

Tinti says that she cannot wash her face, because she is a cat.
‘Then lick your face and body clean. That’s what cats do, says mother.
Tinti tried licking, but her hand tasted of salt and dust.
Ooonh…I can’t.
Then you are only 3/4th a cat.

And the game goes on, until when a really hungry Tinti asks for food and is told to eat a rat, she decides that being a human is much better after all!

Humour, love, imagination and play-acting all mingle together in this book to create an enchanted world of childhood – never mind that that childhood is being spent in a slum instead of in a sophisticated apartment.


Reviewed by Shamim Padamsee