This is a snippet of cat and human news. Although it is difficult to obtain accurate figures for adult illiteracy, Baroness Rendell of Balberg who sits in the House of Lords says that there are seven million adults in the United Kingdom who cannot read. That makes around 11% of the population of the UK. She even believes it could be higher depending on how you measure illiteracy.
In 1999 the BBC reported that 22% of the UK population were evaluated as illiterate (Dr Richard Jolly, author of a United Nations Development Programme report) and the the CIA World Book tells us that 99% are literate. You can take your pick. Clearly the definition of “illiterate” is as elastic and as a rubber band.
Despite the disparity in the figures a significant proportion of adults in the UK are illiterate and it is a barrier to becoming a good cat caretaker. I think it is fair to say that many people need to improve their knowledge of the domestic cat for the sake of cat welfare.
It is ironic, therefore, that Baroness Rendell of Baberg, who is better known as Ruth Rendell the popular author of crime fiction, has chosen a cat and a dog as the central characters in a book written entirely in short sentences made up of words of one and two syllables.
The book is written for illiterate or semi-illiterate adults. It is a book designed for adults and children who are learning to read.
The book, Archie and Archie, is about a “pugilistic cat and dog”. Uhmmm…that’s a long word. Pugilistic means fighting with fists. It comes out later on in 2013. So, it’s about the age-old fight between cats and dogs, then? If that is true it is a bit stereotypical. There are millions of cats in nice friendships with dogs, thank you very much.
Archie and Archie is available for pre-order on Amazon.