Puss in Boots, re-told by Diana Wynne Jones

Combining Diana Wynne Jones Week seamlessly with Once Upon a Time Week is DWJ's re-telling of Puss In Boots. It is a slim book, with only 86 large-fonted pages in the version I have (Scholastic, 1999), and it sticks very closely to the original story. Yet, this being DWJ doing the re-telling, it is smart, and brisk, and dotted with touches of humor.

"I don't think I have any brains," the miller's son said sadly. "I shall be a miller's assistant all the days of my life. All I shall ever be is District Wrestling Champion."

"You're not that much of a fool," said the cat. "But it doesn't matter because I have brains enough for both of us. The question is, do you have brains enough to trust me and do exactly what I tell you to do?"

"I think so," said the miller's son. "I've always admired the cunning way you hunt."

"Good," said the cat. "Then your sorrows are over. Save up your money until you can afford to buy me a pair of boots and a strong leather bag to match them."

"Boots!" said the miler's son. "Whatever for?"

"Uh-huh!" said the cat. "I said trust me. But if you must know, I get frustrated when I hunt out of doors. There are so many brambles." (page 9-11 of my edition).

It's not a book that hard-core fans of DWJ are going to want to seek out (unless they are completing their collection), but it is an awfully fun version of this old chestnut, great for reading aloud to the younger child, or for young reader to read alone.


  1. I don't know if I've ever read this! The passage you're quoting feels familiar, but I think only in the sense that I know the fairy tale, and I know DWJ's narrative voice. Cool! I'll have to see if my library has it.

  2. My library doesn't have it, and now I'm very sad!

  3. I really wanna get hold of this... I really should just collect all of her books up as I have most of them. I really enjoyed Wild Robert which is also a book more for younger children as it is also short with large writing.

    Great review and I love DWJ's voice, it's so strong and unique. I'd read anything she ever wrote.

  4. That sounds completely fabulous, and I might have to find it (even if it doesn't quite fit into Diana Wynne Jones week)

  5. Argh, I have been looking for that for years - along with that other DWJ book never found in the US, The Skiver's Guide. How come you have it? Huh? Huh? DWJ is one of the author's I read obsessively, whether or not I like individual books is irrelevant. I really want to try that one...maybe it's time to sally forth into ILL-land again. After all, I have ILL powers now...

  6. It is only 2 cents used....

    It is only 2 cents used on Amazon...although I found my copy in a charity shop in England, which makes it more Authentic (???)

    I need a copy of the Skiver's Guide too! Hmm....6.57 from the Book Depository....I shall add it to my Christmas list!

  7. I LOVE Diana Wynne Jones! This looks like a good one for my oldest to try... all DWJ's others are a bit too long for her.


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