The Good Luck Cat

by Joy Harjo and Paul Lee

Woogie runs in front of a car and lives to calmly lick her paws on the other side... read more

Woogie runs in front of a car and lives to calmly lick her paws on the other side of the street. She crawls under the car hood when the motor is still warm and doesn’t lose the end of her tail. She gets shot in the ear with a BB gun and survives--more or less intact. These and six other mishaps are recounted by a young girl who agrees with her aunt Shelly that Woogie apparently has nine lives. Woogie seems to bring good luck to others, too. After Aunt Shelly pets Woogie on her way to bingo, she returns with enough money to buy shoes for the family. The narrator misplaces the favorite beaded earrings she had planned to wear to the spring powwow and locates them under the bed after petting Woogie! Maybe this “stripedy cat with the softest fur, the tickling whiskers, and the green electric eyes” who “purrs as if she has a drum near her heart” really is a harbinger of good luck. Maybe it’s all coincidence. Joy Harjo’s seamless, lyrical sweep though nine mishaps and a subsequent lost‑cat episode is closely observant of cat behavior and remarkably fresh. She uses a consistent, credible, first‑person narrative voice. Paul Lee provides full‑color acrylic paintings. This children’s-book debut by one of today’s significant poets is refreshing for another reason. Harjo is a literary celebrity who actually can write well for young children. Highly Commended, 2001 Charlotte Zolotow Award (Ages 4‑7)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2001

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