T-BONE THE BABYSITTER (1950)

T-BONE THE BABYSITTER (1950), my first cat.

T-BONE THE BABYSITTER — Mrs. Newberry has used her own baby daughter and her black-with-white trimmings cat as models for her marvelous pictures for this sweet little story of a feline baby-sitter. The pictures alone are worth the price,” was the judgment of the Boston Herald reviewer.

“Clare Turlay Newberry has won the distinction of having one of her books chosen by the American Institute of Graphic Arts as one of the best in 1948. This one is T-BONE THE BABYSITTER. T-Bone is a cat (so called for having once devoured an expensive steak!) and the baby is Mrs. Newberry’s own, and the 25 charcoal drawings were made from live models. They have all the lovabilityor almost allof the originals, and adults will love the expressiveness of the baby sketches and the placidity of T-Bone,” asserted The Hartford Times.

The New Yorker: “A small, irresistible book about a baby and a cat, their happy companionship, and the tragedy that befalls them temporarily when the cat that’s T-Bonemakes up its mind to be naughty. The large charcoal drawings, with their soft flush of roseespecially those showing T-Bone chewing up a pink feather hat to the baby’s delightare among Mrs. Newberry’s very best.”

“If you have a young child who likes cats, there’s a new children’s book that ought to be just what you want – Clare Turlay Newberry’s T-BONE THE BABYSITTER…She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico now; her name is actually Mrs. Henry Trujillo,” reported The San Francisco Chronicle. It was a rare instance of my mother’s Spanish married name to be revealed. Below is a photograph she took of my father holding me and T-Bone on his lap.

The Horn Book gave me second billing, “Clare Newberry has brought her own little girl to share honors with this “large, kindly, black-and-white cat. The distinguished charcoal drawings of this well-known artist take on fresh animation and character from the close association of T-Bone with so vigorous and winsome a baby.”

However, the Junior Review decided I was a boy and no competition for T-Bone at all:

“…Fortunately, Clare Newberry can write as well as draw cats to the queen’s taste. She lets her sketches carry the major part of the story, which they do with much success and artistry. And her baby is almost as good as T-Bone. In fact, he is darlingas is T-Boneespecially on the page beginning, “But one day T-Bone did not feel like baby-sitting…. That picture, if you like cats, will delight you. It does our young reviewers; the ones who have just heard the story bring in their friends just to see that picture. And then, of course, everyone stays to hear the story over again. How we get any work done is a wonder…”

Not as many interviewers inquired how Clare managed to get a baby to do what she wanted, but she admitted to using pretty much the same techniques she had long used with her cat models.

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