So I’ve realized of late that a surprising number of folks don’t find cats to be utterly appealing. If that’s the case with you, I suppose I shouldn’t be too offended if you skip all my feline-related reviews. However, you might just want to peek at this one anyway if you’re at all interested in Dutch literature/history or captivating children’s books. Katje, the Windmill Cat is a lovely picture book that depicts in entertaining watercolor pencil illustrations the true story of a daring 1421 flood rescue in Holland. The simply-told, fairytale-like plot hold’s one’s interest, but I found myself spending much more time absorbing the detailed drawings of Delft tiles (some of which are extremely amusing) than speeding through the text.
I haven’t had the chance to travel to the Netherlands yet, but did get a glimpse of the North Sea from Belgium and have thoroughly enjoyed reading Girl with a Pearl Earring (Tracy Chevalier), The Coffee Trader (David Liss), and Girl in Hyacinth Blue (Susan Vreeland.) I confess Mike Dash’s history Tulipomania was a bit too detailed for me, but The Embarrassment of Riches (Simon Schama) and Vermeer’s Hat (Timothy Brook) are on my current list of books to consider. Have you read either of those? If so, do you recommend them? And if you’ve traveled to the land of wooden shoes, tulips, and windmills, I’d love to hear about that, too.
P.S. The Philadelphia Museum of Art holds a fantastic hoard of Delft tiles, and you can tag them online from the Collections section of the museum’s website.