Paul Gallico's "The Abandoned" is a children's classic from the 1950s, but this book isn't just for kids. Truthfully, I want to gently place it into the hands of every single person I meet. It's the story of Peter, a boy who is struck unconscious after rescuing a cat from oncoming traffic. When he wakes up, he has turned into a cat. Trying to survive on his own in London, Peter meets Jennie, a stray who takes him under her paw to teach him how to be a cat. Gallico's attention to detail is unparalleled. His descriptions of life as a cat felt real, making this story both enchanting and heartbreaking. Read it to your kids, read it yourself, or gift it to anyone who has ever loved a cat. And as an added suggestion, make sure you have some tissues on hand. You won't regret it. — From Halley
London hasn’t been kind to Peter, a lonely boy whose parents are always out at parties, and though Peter would love to have a cat for company, his nanny won’t hear of it. One day, as Peter is walking out the door, he sees a truck bearing down on a tabby. Dashing out to save the cat, he is struck by the oncoming truck himself.
Everything is different when Peter comes to: He has fur, whiskers, and claws; he has become a cat himself! But London isn’t any kinder to cats than it is to children. Jennie, a savvy stray who takes charge of Peter, knows that all too well. Jennie schools young Peter in the ways of cats, including how to sniff out a nice napping spot, the proper way to dine on mouse, and the single most important tactic a cat can learn: “When in doubt, wash.” Jennie and Peter will face many challenges—and not all of them are from the dangerous outside world—in their struggle to find a place that is truly home.
About the Author
Paul Gallico (1897–1976) was a popular and prolific sports columnist, screenwriter, and author of books for adults and children. He was born in New York City to an Italian immigrant musician father and a mother who had studied to be a singer, and paid his way through Columbia University by tutoring children and working as a longshoreman. He began his career at the New York Daily News, where he soon became famous for his adventures with star athletes of the day. In 1937 he published the essay “Farewell to Sport” and turned to fiction, publishing stories in publications like Cosmopolitan, The Saturday Evening Post, and The New Yorker. Among his forty-one books are the novella The Snow Goose (1941); Manxmouse (1968, often cited by J.K. Rowling as one of her favorite books); Mrs. ’Arris Goes to Paris (1958) and its four sequels; and The Poseidon Adventure (1969), the basis for the hugely successful 1972 film. From 1950 until his death Gallico lived outside of the United States, mostly in England, Antibes, and Monaco.
“Unalloyed delight.... You should be warned that if you hate cats you’d better not read this story, for it will so entertain you and instruct you in the ways of cats that your interest and liking will be aroused in spite of you.” —Chicago Daily Tribune
“When I was 9 years old I plucked The Abandoned from my school library’s dusty shelves and fell in love with literature. The adventures that unfolded, reminiscent of The Wind in the Willows and Peter Pan, captured me so thoroughly I knew writing was part of my destiny.” —Naomi Serviss, Newsday
“This is one of Gallico's best works, making a perfect companion to his more famous 'Thomasina' and telling of a boy transposed into the body of a cat by accident. His life as a cat involves many hard lessons from companion Jennie in this excellent, sensitive story.” —Midwest Book Review
“Unalloyed delight. . . .You should be warned that if you hate cats you’d better not read this story, for it will entertain you and instruct you in the ways of cats, that your interest and liking will be aroused in spite of you.” —Chicago Sunday Tribune
“In portraying Jennie, a London tabby, Paul Gallico has given us not only a cat’s-eye-view of the cosmos, but also a cat immortal.” —Saturday Review of Literature
“Poetry and fantasy so skillfully impregnate the story that a parable of haunting wistfulness emerges.” —Christian Science Monitor