I Knead My Mommy And Other Poems By Kittens, by Francesco Marciuliano
Having already read and enjoyed two books by the poet , this book was an easy one to get and I was prepared to enjoy it, as I did. Admittedly, this book was not much of a stretch from what the author was already doing in portraying the feelings of kittens rather than older cats. And kittens are admittedly cute animals who are easy to appreciate, so these poems are precisely what one would expect, being both cute and often somewhat thought provoking as they explore life from the point of view of small and cute but sometimes vicious beings who are just getting to know and explore the world for the first time. I am honestly surprised, as someone who reads a lot of poetry, that I have not encountered more books of this kind before, because there is something quite worthwhile and interesting about looking at the world from the point of view of someone else, and doing so while maintaining that delicate balance between ease of reading and also capturing the lack of spelling accuracy that one would expect to see from the young is also a nice touch.
Like all of the other books by the author I have read so far, the slightly more than 100 pages of poems and accompanying photos of cute kittens is divided into four parts: “New World,” “New Family,” “New Adventures,” and “Same Old Trouble.” Among the most adorable poems and standouts of this particular collection include the title poem of the kitten in search of his loving mother, an ode to a lizard who the kitten was unaware was also a pet in the same house, reflections on the need to grow up and a kitten’s appreciation of its own curiosity, reflections on the professions for cats, wondering about the praise for using litter boxes, and some reflections on visits to the vet. There are also discussions about the luxury of bedsheets and pouncing and the ineffectiveness of people saying no. The poems as a whole manage to capture the perspective of a kitten and that combination of cuteness, ferocity, and curiosity that kittens manage to demonstrate so well. The author even manages to capture a poignant diary entry where a kitten spends the whole day running and sleeping and thinks it is a day that the kitten will always treasure.
As one might expect from the rest of this series, there are some poignant aspects of life as kitten that are explored. There is the enjoyment of youth and the awareness that one has a lot to learn. There is the frustration with negatives, the tendency to tune out the commands or prohibitions made, and the tension between having an interest in enjoying life while also having ambitions for a better life. The author appears to use a lot of themes that one would expect from childhood in general as well as cats in general in making this particular selection of poems, and that is not a surprising choice on his part. The author shows himself insightful to the situation of kittens and to the way in which kittens spend time, and the book’s conceit of poems that are viewed as a best of compilation demonstrates that another volume of these poems would probably be enjoyable, whether or not the author undertakes it. Clearly with several successful books about poetry from the point of view of pets, the author has found a good niche to be in and something that can be appreciated by many readers.
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