Katje the Windmill Cat
Katje the Windmill Cat is based on a true story. The flood and the rescue really happened in Holland about six hundred years ago. I didn't know who the real cat and real baby were, so I made up the characters and the family and the windmill part of the book. (I was writing my windmill book The Wind at Work so I had windmills on the brain.) After Katje was published in Holland, a Dutch man read the book, found my website, and emailed me to say that the story took place in his hometown of Dordrecht, and he knew who the baby was! Her name was Beatrice and her family still lives in Dordrecht. Hurray for the internet!
This story is a favorite of mine, and I love it even more now with Nicola Bayley's exquisite illustrations. Her pictures look like paintings from the Dutch Renaissance. She even used one of her own cats as a model for Katje.
Awards and Reviews
o Nominated for Newcomer Award, Books for Children Book Club in England
o Finalist for the Children’s Book Award in England
o Finalist for the Kate Greenaway Award in England
"Woelfle transforms a historical account of the 15th century St. Elizabeth’s Day flood in Holland into an engaging story in terms that children will understand….Both art and text infuse this little-known piece of history with warmth and imagination."
Publisher’s Weekly (starred review)
"Woelfle’s tale is told in a stately storyteller’s voice."
"Gretchen Woelfle’s story …has a strong, quiet humor of its own, which shows a close acquaintance with felines."
"Full of atmosphere and tenderness, this is a book that should make children smile. One to treasure."
Children’s Book of the Week, The Sunday Times, London
Here's what kids say about Katje.
"I ABSOLUTELY TOTALLY LOVE your story Katje the Windmill Cat. I love it because it’s based on a true story."
"I wish the story could be on TV."
"I would give this book five out of five stars."
"I adore your story Katje the Windmill Cat. It is the best book ever seen or ever read it will always be my favorite….. you could listen to it over and over again, it’s like magic!"
also in British, Dutch, French, Danish, and Chinese editions