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  • Published: 29 September 2020
  • ISBN: 9780143786382
  • Imprint: Puffin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 240
  • RRP: $16.99

The Adventures of Catvinkle

Elliot Perlman’s first book for children is a tail-spin of a tale that will have you howling with laughter!

When a pampered cat has to share her home with a lost dog, sparks are set to fly. To her surprise, Catvinkle starts to like Ula. She even tells Ula her three secrets. But a cat and a dog can’t be friends – can they?

A tail-spin of a tale that will make you howl with laughter – and remind you that if you aren’t open to adventure, you might never meet your best friend.

  • Published: 29 September 2020
  • ISBN: 9780143786382
  • Imprint: Puffin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 240
  • RRP: $16.99

About the authors

Elliot Perlman

Elliot Perlman’s Three Dollars won the Age Book of the Year Award, the Betty Trask Award (UK), the Fellowship of Australian Writers' Book of the Year Award and was shortlisted for the John Llewellyn-Rhys/Mail On Sunday Book of the Year Award (UK) as well as for the Miles Franklin Literary Award. Elliot Perlman also co-wrote the screenplay for the film of Three Dollars, which received the Australian Film Critics' Circle Award for Best Adapted Screenplay as well as the A.F.I. Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.

The Reasons I Won't Be Coming, a collection of stories, was a bestseller in the US where it was named a New York Times Book Review 'Editors' Choice' and received the Steele Rudd Award for the best Australian short story collection in its year of publication.

Perlman's second novel, Seven Types of Ambiguity, was a bestseller in France where it was described as 'one of the best novels of recent years, a complete success'(Le Monde). In Germany it was called a 'literary sensation' (Deutschlandradio), 'an impressive, iridescent all-encompassing view of feeling' (Der Spiegel), and described as having "the virtues of the great modern European novel' (Süddeutsche Zeitung). It was a bestseller in the United States where it was described as having 'traces of Dickens's range and of George Eliot's generous humanist spirit' (New York Times) and named a New York Times Book Review 'Editors' Choice', a New York Times Book Review 'Notable Book of the Year' and a Washington Post 'Editors' Choice' as well as one of its all-time dozen favourites 'on the pain of love'. In the UK it was described as 'a colossal achievement….a tour de force…(in which) at the end, in a comprehensive, an almost Shakespearian way, Perlman picks up every loose thread and knots it' (The Observer) and named a Sunday Telegraph 'Book of the Year'. In Australia it was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award as well as for the Queensland Premier's Award for Fiction.

Perlman’s bestselling The Street Sweeper, ‘Excellent . . . harrowing, humane and brilliant’ (The Times (UK)) ‘[is] a towering achievement: a strikingly modern literary novel.’ (Entertainment Weekly (US)) ‘. . . an epic tale that spans decades and bridges generations while chronicling the predominant chapters of racial persecution perpetrated in the darkest hours of the twentieth century . . . [wherein Perlman] shines a fresh light on the struggle of the American civil rights movement . . . The narrative pull is breathtaking [as he] pulls off the supreme feat of articulating the unspeakable . . . This stunning novel works and matters, because of the expert way Perlman has recorded both the agonized howl of the past and the plaintive echoes of the present’ (San Francisco Chronicle) in ‘[a] wonderfully rich, engaging and multilayered story . . . [from] an author of rare erudition and compassion.’ (The Washington Post) ‘[Perlman] brilliantly makes personal both the Holocaust and the civil rights movement, and crafts a moving and literate page-turner.’ (Publishers Weekly (starred review)) ‘[Here] Perlman burnishes his reputation as a masterful storyteller who captures the cadences of consciousness and conversation and the varieties and vagaries of cruelty, courage and compassion . . . You will, in all likelihood, find it unforgettable.’ (Jerusalem Post)

Elliot Perlman’s first novel for children, The Adventures of Catvinkle, ‘[is] an instant children’s classic, that you enjoy as much as the little ones you know, and that you start giving as a gift because of its inherent, feel-good message.’ (Sunday Age) ‘[A] charming and whimsical tale . . . [replete with] gentle lessons . . . about empathy, bravery and friendship . . . [a] simply a delightful and easy-to-read story with laugh-out-loud dialogue that doesn’t talk down to its readers.’ (Books+Publishing) ‘ . . . exactly the sort of book I loved being given as a child, a book you can cherish,’ (Sydney Morning Herald) ‘[where] themes of social inclusion, anti-racism and anti-bullying are treated gently in this delightful, easy-to-read story . . . [and t]here are many quirky, humorous moments . . .’ (Magpies) ‘A gorgeous book guaranteed to give great joy.’ (Better Reading) The Adventures of Catvinkle was a Children’s Book Council of Australia Notable Book 2019, and was shortlisted for the 2019 Children’s Peace Literature Award.

Perlman’s Maybe the Horse Will Talk ‘[is a] thriller-like, stylish, compelling novel [that] manages at once to limn injustices wrought by corporate acquisitiveness, misogyny and discrimination, and to affirm the transformative capacity of empathy. And while there is a deep and steady seriousness . . . it is also funny as well as exhilarating and humane, pitching longing, love and kindness hopefully and inspiringly against violence.’ (Weekend Australian) [A] timely look at sexual harassment and corporate corruption that manages to be laugh-out-loud funny’ (Sydney Morning Herald) where ‘[t]he novelist’s mastery of the sentence is on full display in the rapid-fire dialogue between his characters . . . If Maybe the Horse will Talk stands apart in Perlman’s oeuvre for its intention to make readers smile, it continues the author’s interest in addressing social concerns through fiction.’ (The Saturday Age)

Elliot Perlman is the recipient of the Queensland Premier’s award for Advancing Public Debate and has been described by the Times Literary Supplement (UK) as ‘Australia’s outstanding social novelist’, by Le Nouvelle Observateur (France) as the ‘Zola d’Australie’ and by Lire (France) as ‘the classic of tomorrow’, one of the ‘50 most important writers in the world’.

Catvinkle and the Missing Tulips, a novel for children and a sequel to The Adventures of Catvinkle, is scheduled for publication in October 2020.

Laura Stitzel

Laura Stitzel is an independent artist in Melbourne, Australia. She has been working as an illustrator, animator and author in Australia and Canada since 2008.

Laura is an illustrator of children’s books including Elliot Perlman's The Adventures of Catvinkle (Penguin Random House), and her own picture books, Mr Mo Starts to Grow (Hachette Australia) and Moonlight Mums (Penguin Random House). Her art has also appeared in many children’s television series over the past decade. She has contributed background art and character animation to programs such as the Emmy Award winning Peg + Cat, Disney's Space Chickens in Space, Warner Bros'Ginger Snaps and the world's longest running children's series, Arthur.

Laura has also illustrated and animated for a wide range of media including commercials, short films, print media and television series for all ages.

Praise for The Adventures of Catvinkle

Readers familiar with Perlman's intellectually and physically hefty novels might be surprised by this gently charming book for children . . . This is exactly the sort of book I loved being given as a child, a book you can cherish as a physical object as well as for its content.

Sydney Morning Herald

This is the sort that becomes an instant children’s classic, that you enjoy as much as the little ones you know, and that you start giving as a gift because of its inherent, feel-good message

Sunday Age (M Magazine)

The themes of social inclusion, anti-racism and anti-bullying are treated gently in this delightful, easy-to-read story . . . There are many quirky, humorous moments . . . A huge bonus are the simple, whimsical, line-drawings by Laura Stitzel.

Pauline Hosking, Magpies

A charming and whimsical tale . . . There are gentle lessons in here about empathy, bravery and friendship, but it’s also simply a delightful and easy-to-read story with laugh-out-loud dialogue that doesn’t talk down to its readers. Although the book is aimed at nine- to eleven-year-olds, parents will enjoy reading this book with younger children too.

Hannah Cartmel, Books + Publishing

This book made me laugh out loud and has wonderful stories of adventure, bravery and friendship.

Gemma, age 10, Kids' Reading Guide 2018-2019

This whimsical and heart-warming story filled with lots of laughs and larger than life characters tells the story of a cat and dog while also exploring important themes around friendship and exclusion, ultimately reminding children that even the most unlikely of people can become great friends . . . A gorgeous book guaranteed to give great joy, you could easily curl up with your little one to read it together. Equally, independent readers 8+ years will love it.


The girls and I have greatly enjoyed The Adventures of Catvinkle this last week, in fact I would go so far as to say that it has been our favourite read aloud for bedtime books in a long time. Two-time Miles Franklin-shortlisted author Elliot Perlman has turned his considerable talent to children’s books and his skill with language and prose is evident.

Megan Daley, childrensbooksdaily.com

Children aged 8 to 11 years will enjoy this novel for its characters, plot, humour and ideas, and it will also be critically admired. It's a wise, thoughtful book that is also engaging and fun . . . The writing and structure of The Adventures of Catvinkle is intelligent and dense yet told with a light touch. Elliot's first objective is to make children and their parents laugh and smile. He wants to entertain them and keep them turning the pages.

Joy Lawn, childrensbooksdaily.com

A very beautiful hardback keepsake. It's Perlman's first book for children and will be perfect to read aloud or for a quiet reading interlude during all the festivities.

Margaret Hamilton, Pinerolo Newsletter

The subtle themes of anti-racism, anti-bullying, acceptance, tolerance, friendship and loyalty are delivered in a wonderfully funny story . . . Readers from around eight years upwards will delight in this magical story of animals whose lives seem to mirror those of humans.

Sue Warren, losangzopa.wordpress.com

It all sounds outlandish but the story works well and all the escapades are entertaining and fun . . . This is a fun story written for 8 to 11 year olds.

Jane Moore, ReadPlus

Perlman has been shortlisted twice for the Miles Franklin Literary Award and his skill with putting words onto paper is very evident - this story, while intended for young independent readers, engages adults so it makes a perfect bedtime read-aloud to younger children too.

Barbara Braxton, Teacher Librarian, thebottomshelf.edublogs.org

Filled with the most amazing (and in some cases downright crazy) dog and cat characters you'll find outside The Aristocats, this is brilliant writing for younger readers from Elliot, with more than a few tongue in cheek moments poking fun at the great and good (which we of course love to bits) . . . Awesome, original and a brilliant read!


Featuring an inventive cast of characters, from cats and dogs to a backgammon-playing llama, this quirky chapter book with black-and-white illustrations celebrates diversity and encourages inclusivity. At its core is the fundamental message that friendship should be extended to everyone, no matter who they are or where they come from.


Awards & recognition

The Children's Peace Literature Award

Shortlisted  •  2019  •  Young Readers

CBCA Book of the Year Awards

Notable Book  •  2019  •  Younger Readers

Discover more

Put yourself in someone else's shoes (or fur)

Bestselling author Elliot Perlman shares the inspiration behind his second children's book, Catvinkle and the Missing Tulips.

Catvinkle Activity Pack

Celebrating the launch of book two, Catvinkle and the Missing Tulips.