Orlando's Bill with cinnamon-colored cat

illustration credit: the legendary Kathleen Hale (who I hope is pleased in heaven and forgives me for scanning her gorgeous image from our copy of her beautiful book)

Do you know the Orlando (The Marmalade Cat) series of lusciously illustrated books by Kathleen Hale?

They were first published in the 1930’s and are rather quirky.

Ms Hale wrote them based on her own real-life Orlando the marmalade cat. We love Orlando Keeps A Dog. It reminds me a little of our Cat Dog story in Beef Casserole for the Dog’s Soul who is rewarded by the King of Cats.

I especially like the way Ms Hale describes The Dog (Bill, based on her own well-meaning but boisterous Bill the Standard Poodle) when he, and his own cat buddy, the ‘cinnamon-colored cat’ first apply for the advertised job of being a pet for three kittens:

“Thoroughly pleased with himself, the dog stretched his hind legs and the cinnamon-colored cat copied him; he stretched his front legs and the cinnamon-colored cat did likewise. The dog wagged his tail, which was tufted like a palm tree; his nose reminded Twinkle of a fat wet prune; he laughed, and the tip of his long pink tongue was shaped like an iris petal; there was a patch of white curls on his chest as though he wore a tiny ostrich feather; he smelt deliciously of warm dog-biscuits; he rolled his chestnut-colored eyes mischievously, showing white corners like little crescent moons of hard-boiled egg.

“We wish to apply for the job,” he said, speaking for the cinnamon-colored cat as well. “Sometimes we’re honest and sometimes we’re clean, but we’re always loving.”

Ah! “he smelt deliciously of warm dog-biscuits”! We read this book aloud and we notice Bubba dog listening too even though it is not technically a story for dogs.


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