WITH its charming illustrations and narrative, Derek T Morgan’s Cats Tails attracted readers of ages.

The paperback brought to life the adventures of kittens Rommy and Reemy, who live on a houseboat with their owners Mr and Mrs Moggs.

The fun, scrapes and mischief the kittens got up to, whether by accident or design, are a joy to read.

And now the Leeds-based author has produced a sequel More Cats Tails (The Further Adventures of Rommy and Reemy), carrying on the endearing escapades of the feline brothers who become embroiled in all sorts of tricky situations.

‘Reemy watched the ducks swim out of sight and yawned hugely. Bored, bored, bored. I’m bored, he thought.’

That’s how the pair - who live with adult cats Buggs and Whit - usually find themselves, before escaping the confines of the houseboat and heading off along the canal looking for something to do. More often than not, they land themselves in situations they would rather not be in.

Encounters with other cats including Oskar, Lima, Ermin and their new acquaintance, black cat Arch Bishop, known as Archie, are common and central to their adventures.

‘Reemy found himself looking up at the windows in Ermin’s boat. One of the curtains twitched and the face of the big black and white cat appeared and pressed up against the glass,’ writes Derek. Their eyes met and the same frisson of nervous excitement passed between them. Fear of the unknown was almost palpable in the air.’

The bonds between the furry friends are explored as they help each other out when their nine lives are put at risk by their high jinks:

‘Still trying to catch up and now with a throbbing paw, Reemy leapt before he was properly ready and fell short. His chest slammed into the rim of the dinghy and he would have fallen back but managed to anchor his front claws into the cover,’ writes Derek, ‘And there he hung with his front legs straight out on the boat and his body hanging down the side, badly winded and annoyed with himself for fluffing the jump.’

Thankfully, Ermin was on hand to help him: ‘Lowering his head, he stepped forward and placed it under the kitten’s dangling bottom and scrabbling legs. Lifting his head sharply, he boosted Reemy up onto the cover.’

The descriptions of the cats, their quirks and foibles are wonderful. There’s Ogilvy, ‘the old tabby with the cloudy left eye’ who ‘did well to spend an hour at his station before staggering out on stiff legs’, and white-furred Mr Walt Whiskers, also known as ‘Whits’, who helps Ogilvy if need be.

The canal and boatyard setting, where the cats have many an adventure - adds to the atmosphere: ‘To their right, the sterns of the moored narrow boats were left behind and the motley collection of rowing boats, which had all been collected together and tied up... To their left an old-style railway boxcar towered above and after that a large pile of logs covered by a thick green tarpaulin.’

Each chapter in the fun-filled book presents a separate adventure.

The book is well-written, its feline characters brought vividly to life. My only criticism is that at 608 pages of heavy text, it is overlong - particularly for young children (it is aimed at those aged 12 and over). It would definitely benefit from a few more of the delightful illustrations by Geoff Flitt. These pencil drawings, which bring a smile to your face, would break up the text, and increase its appeal to younger readers.

Loyalty and honour are paramount in the lives of these curious cats and kittens. And there is usually a happy ending, even if it is not quite what you expect.

I especially love the illustration of the cats and kittens visiting the pig in his sty, and the cats meeting the ‘Black Stripes’ (the cats name for the local badgers) at their sett.

*More Cats Tails by Derek T Morgan is published by Strategic Book Publishing. It is available to order from Amazon (amazon.co.uk), Barnes and Noble (barnesandnoble.com) and other bookstores.

Helen Mead