Cats in children's books

'The Cat and Venus' from 'Baby's Own Aesop', Aesop's Fables adapted in rhyme by William Linton and illustrated by Walter Crane in 1887. Accession number 1970.260 'April's Kittens', story and pictures by Clare Turlay Newberry, 1944. Accession number WAG 2010.28.118 'April's Kittens', story and pictures by Clare Turlay Newberry, 1944. Accession number WAG 2010.28.118 'And Curled Up with a Comfortable C' from 'A Romance of the Three R's', written and illustrated by Walter Crane in 1886. Accession number 54.98.13 'Puss in Boots', illustrated by Doris White, 1935. Accession number 1984.114 'Puss in Boots', illustrated by Doris White, 1935. Accession number 1984.114 'Puss in Boots', illustrated by Doris White, 1935. Accession number 1984.114 'Puss in Boots', illustrated by Doris White, 1935. Accession number 1984.114

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These children’s books from the Decorative Art collection at the Walker Art Gallery show the many different aspects of cats; in turn cute, cunning or mysterious. From the playful pets in 'April’s Kittens' to a cat who stands on his own two paws in 'Puss in Boots', the cat is presented as a valued companion.

Books illustrated for children in colour first became popular in the 19th century.  They often had an educational purpose as in Walter Crane’s 'The Three R’s', or made moral points as in his book of 'Aesop’s Fables'.

Walter Crane (1845-1915) was an influential graphic designer and illustrator, specialising in children’s books. He was born and grew up in Liverpool.