This is the story of Tibs, son of Toodle, son of Tiddles, son of Toby. He was born in a small Post Office where he lived with his mother, Minnie, and went to live in the Central Sorting Office where he was to be the Chief Mouser. However, this worried Tibs as one of his best friends as a kitten had been a mouse called Fred.
On his first night at his new job, Tibs meets the mice who are creating havoc at the Sorting Office and instead of catching them, gave them names in exchange for working to clean up the Sorting Office. They do such a good job that the head postmaster decides to hold Coronation party. This was to be held on the underground Mail Rail and Tibs and was to guard the presents for the children. Tibs and the mice do this so well that they foil a suspected robbery!
Set in the 1950s, 'Tibs the Post Office Cat' has a wonderfully old-fashioned feel and reminds me very much of Sampson the church cat in the stories by Graham Oakley. Tibs is a lovely, gentle character and the mice are full of life and fun as they go about their jobs clearing up the Post Office. The illustrations are lovely, complementing the story perfectly.
The story is loosely based on a real cat called Tibs who was born in November 1950 and worked catching mice for the Post Office until his death in November 1964. You can find out more about him and the role of Post Office cats on the Postal Museum website. You can also find out more about the underground railway which features in the story here.
This is a lovely book, offering a little bit of history as well as a great story!
Tibs the Post Office Cat by Joyce Dunbar, illustrated by Claire Fletcher
Words and Pictures ISBN: 978-1910277201