PB 14:14 – Day 13 – Top Ten Elements in Picture Books – Patterns

My selection today for Day 13 of Christie Wild’s PB 14:14 is another classic picture book…just can’t help myself!


This one is from 1928… Wanda Gag won the 1929 Newbery Honor Book Award.  Ms. Gag pioneered the double page spread in this book, using both pages to move the story forward, putting them together with art that swept across the entire page spread.

Millions of Cats is the oldest American picture book still in print!

And if you are looking for a picture book that showcases patterns, you can stop right here!

millions of cats

Title: Millions of Cats

Author and Illustrator: Wanda Gag

Publisher: Coward McCann (recent editions are Penguin)

Date: 1928

Top Ten Element: Patterns


Opening Lines:

“Once upon a time there was a very old man and a very old woman.  They lived in a nice clean house which had flowers all around it, except where the door was.  But they couldn’t be happy because they were so very lonely.”

Synopsis:  A lonely old couple want a pretty little cat to keep them company.  When the husband finds a hillside FILLED with cats, he has trouble picking the prettiest…and all of the cats follow him home. 

Cats here, cats there, cats and kittens everywhere.  Hundreds of cats, thousands of cats, millions and billions and trillions of cats.”

This refrain is repeated – so we have patterns in words…but we also have patterns in the pictures – this author/illustrator definitely knew what she was doing.


When the man and his wife leave it up to the cats to determine who is the prettiest, mayhem breaks out and the couple run into their house!  Will the cats be able to choose who is the prettiest?  Will the old couple get the cat they want?

To tell you the truth, Ms. Gag’s story line would be quite at home with recent books like Creepy Carrots and Battle Bunny. When the cats start tearing each other apart, I want to quickly turn the page…I’m thinking too much violence for young kids…but obviously the publisher in 1939 loved it…and I think the publishers today would also.

If you’d like to see the review and craft activity I posted two years ago:


About viviankirkfield

Writer for children - Reader forever Mom of 3, educator, author of FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN: AN ANIMAL COUNTING BOOK (Pomegranate Press, 2019), PIPPA'S PASSOVER PLATE (Holiday House, 2019), FROM HERE TO THERE: INVENTIONS THAT CHANGED THE WAY WE MOVE (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019), SWEET DREAMS, SARAH (Creston Books, 2019), picture book junkie, lover of travel, hiking, fly-fishing, cooking, and playing Monopoly with my 9-year old grandson.

Posted on February 26, 2015, in Christie Wild's PB 14:14, Top Ten Elements in Picture Books and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. This is still one of the weirdest picture books I have ever read. I read it for the first time only recently after a blogger was recollecting how traumatized she was by this book as a child. What a weird concept.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahaha…I totally hear you…that’s why when I used to read it (especially to kids), I’d turn the page quickly at that one point. But if you think about the concept of ‘Creepy Carrots’ or ‘Battle Bunny’ or ‘I Want My Hat Back’ where the bear kills the rabbit who stole his hat and then lies to the other animals that he hasn’t seen him…perhaps ‘Millions of Cats’ is not so weird…and it was written over 80 years ago. 🙂


  2. Christie Wright Wild

    I always thought that I had read this book before, but maybe I actually haven’t. I’ll have to check it just to be sure. And then I can say I HAVE read it…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I want to read this book! Never heard of it until now. Thanks, Vivian!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. when I look at many of the old books, especially original forms of fairy tales, there is a big difference compared to today’s PB.

    Believe it or not, I had never heard of this one. Sounds…unique.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s definitely true that there is a big difference between the older picture books and stories and the new ones, Linda. But I think we can get some great plot/pacing tips from them, even if we might not want to share all of them with our kids. 😉
      I’m still clueless about Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems…they want her to eat all the chocolate pudding so they can eat a chocolate filled little girl…YIKES…and that came out in 2012. 🙂 😉


  5. Another one I remember first hearing read on Captain Kangaroo…on my black and white television in the late 50’s. I was 5 or 6 yrs old.


  6. I have a copy of Wanda Ga’g’s “The Funny Thing” – I really like it. Millions of Cats sounds good too. 🙂


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