Synopses and Cover Art


Skitter Cat.  Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1925. 127 pages.
Illustrated by Ruth Bennett; Dedicated to W.C.Y. [William Clinton Youmans, her son].

Skitter Cat is the story of a white Persian kitten who comes to live with Mother, Father, and Little Boy—and their Airedale, Major.  The story takes place in a small town in Ohio.  Skitter gets his name from the sound his claws make skittering across the floor, like a dry leaf.  His birthday is 11 March 1914, and the story takes place over the course of the first year of his life.  He is a feisty kitten who likes to go after the neighbor’s chickens.  In the fall, Mother sends Skitter to live with a friend for a few weeks, until it is too cold for the neighbor to have chickens outside any longer.  Skitter, however, escapes from the car taking him to the city, and lives outside for five months.  His adventures include encounters with a fox, raccoon, opossum, owl, and skunk, and he survives by sleeping in a hollowed out tree and catching mice, rabbits, and pheasants.  He also spends a brief time at the city dump, where he is sighted.  Father builds a trap and they capture Skitter and bring him home, where he’s older and more dignified now than he had been during his younger, kitten days. 
Skitter Cat and Little Boy. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1926. 149 pages.
Illustrated by Ruth Bennett; Dedicated to My Dear Son William Clinton Youmans.
Late in the summer, Father receives an invitation to spend a month camping with a cousin who is spending the summer in the Rocky Mountains.  Father, Mother, and Little Boy decide to go, taking Skitter Cat with them, and leaving Major to stay with Aunt Maud.  The family travels by train through Chicago to the Rockies.  Once at the encampment, there’s much to do, from trout fishing and shooting a popgun at gophers, to visiting waterfalls and going horseback riding.  There are also plentiful huckleberries, to later be made into pies and jams.  The family visits a trapper, Tim Nolan, and his wife.  The Nolan’s Airedales attack a porcupine, and the family must pull out the painful quills from the tender mouths and noses of the dogs.  After Skitter has many exciting encounters—with a Mountain Rat, a coyote, and even a couple of bears—the family returns home to a very happy Major, who has missed them.  The neighborhood children have newfound respect for Skitter when they learn of his adventures with the bears.
Skitter Cat and Major. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1927. 154 pages.
Illustrated by Ruth Bennett; Dedicated to William.

Skitter and Skeet. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1928.  140 pages.
Illustrated by Ruth Bennett; Dedicated to Willem and Helen [Her son and his wife].

Teddy Horse: The Story of a Runaway Pony.  Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1930.  137 pages.
Illustrated by Ruth King; Dedicated to Herbert B. Haskins.
Teddy Horse opens with the birth of a tiny Shetland pony, so-named Teddy Horse because his brown coat resembles the teddy bear that once belonged to his owner’s son Bill.  Teddy Horse is not to stay for long with his mother Susie, their human family, or the other pets on the farm, however; once his sleek black coat grows in, he is to be trained as a show pony on the farm next door.  Even so, his new home is anything but lonely, as Teddy Horse can still see his mother Susie, Bill and all his friends, Nippy the bull terrier, and Buffin the brown tabby cat.  His trainer is friendly, patient, and encourages children to praise Teddy Horse with applause and sweets.  The pony show—which includes performances by calico pony Spot, brown mule Dynamite, tiny monkey Jimmy, and white collie Snow—goes on circuit tour, leisurely making its way south, then west.  On the plains, Teddy Horse is accidentally thrown from a truck, where he learns to fend for himself for several months.  He escapes a pack of coyotes, joins a herd of wild Mustangs, befriends a wayward Buckskin mare and her colt, and finally makes his way to his home town when he, the Buckskin, and the Mustangs are rounded up cowboys and sold to a polo horse breeder in the east.  Mistaken only momentarily for a colt, the tiny Shetland is of little use to the breeder, and is hardly missed when he makes an unlikely escape by applying his learned pony show antics to make his way toward a familiar looking barn.  Buffin and Nippy are the first to greet their long lost companion, followed by a very shocked Bill and his father.  It seems that Teddy Horse traveled over a thousand miles to make it back home.  His coat, mane, and tail are promptly groomed, and Teddy Horse happily resumes his role in the pony show, safe and sound.
Teddy Horse: The Story of a Runaway Pony.  London: Elkin Mathews and Marrot, 1931. 114 pages.
Illustrated by Ruth King; Dedicated to Herbert B. Haskins.
The London-based Elkin Mathews and Marrot edition of Teddy Horse is virtually identical to its American, Bobbs-Merrill predecessor except for smaller font and page sizes, resulting in differences in pagination and text placement, and—more significantly—choice of vernacular.  Youmans told the Newark Advocate that “When ‘Teddy Horse’ went on British book shelves….The editors did some blue pencilling and changed certain words, which they referred to as ‘Americanisms.’  Examples of the editing: ‘Sure’ to ‘certainly,’ ‘curb’ to ‘kerb,’ ‘burned gasoline’ to ‘petrol fumes,’ ‘gee, he’s cute,’ to ‘isn’t he topping?’ ‘cunning little colt,’ to ‘jolly little colt.’”

Cinder: The Tale of a Black and Tan Toy Terrier Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1933. 132 pages.
Illustrated by F. Bernard Shields; Dedicated to Richard A. Youmans [Her grandson].
Cinder is a black and tan toy terrier pup, noted for her white spots on one toe of each foot.  Living with her playwright owner, Mr. George, she has many adventures, including a ride down a flooded river, a bout with a mud turtle, and even a role in a stage play.  Cinder runs off a few times at the beginning of the story, during which time she is cared for by a little girl named Natalie, and she often wanders into the yard next door belonging to another young girl, Ida, and her black cat, Inky, before returning home to Mr. George and Cinder’s mother, Queenie.  At one point, Cinder becomes momentarily jealous of her newborn puppy brother, Budge.  The central adventure of the novel, however, is Cinder’s performance in a theater production authored by Mr. George.  Cinder becomes depressed when the theater group begins a tour that requires her to travel without her master.  The starring actress, apparently famous, takes to Cinder and helps her feel more comfortable in Mr. George’s absence.  By the end of the story, Mr. Green and the actress are married, and Cinder makes an unexpected grand entrance into the ceremony.
Little Dog Mack: The Story of a Wirehaired Terrier Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1936. 137 pages.
Illustrated by Van Trenck; Dedicated to E.H.W.
Nine-year-old twins Ralph and Rachel receive Mack, a three-month-old wire-haired fox terrier for Christmas.  The little white dog with black and tan spots loves to chase other dogs.  One day, he is lured away from home by a dishonest kennel owner who uses his dog, Mitzi, for bait.  Mack is unhappy at the kennel, where he is deprived of human companionship and made to eat food he dislikes.  He fathers four pups with Mitzi, and while she is busy with her infants, the son of the kennel owner takes Mack along in the car as a guard dog.  There is an accident, which enables Mack’s escape.  He visits a farm where he saves young Johnny from a bull.  Johnny is allowed to keep Mack only until his owner is found.  Johnny suspects that Mack doesn’t rightfully belong to the kennel and helps the little dog escape again.  On his long trek home, Mack meets other stray dogs and steals a ham bone.  Finally, he reaches his real home, after traveling about 100 miles.  Ralph and Rachel are ecstatic at his return, and the family cat, Jet, learns to adore him. 
Waif: The Story of Spe. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1937. 138 pages.
Illustrated by Will Rannells. 
One Christmas Eve, a woman spots Waif—a mongrel puppy, part Spritz, perhaps part Pekinese—in the window of a pet shop in Columbus, Ohio.  She decides to purchase the pup as a gift for her brother and sister-in-law.  As it turns out, the couple does not want the dog.  Rather than taking their new charge to the Humane Society, they simply drop her on the Ohio State University campus, next to Mirror Lake.  Despite the couple’s heartless disposal of the defenseless puppy, young Waif enjoys her freedom, fending for herself on campus and its surrounding alleyways.  When school is back in session, she begs for scraps at a nearby fraternity house.  The Sigma Phi Epsilon brothers adopt the dog as their mascot, calling her “Spe,” an acronym of their Greek letters.  Spe is an obedient pet, following the various fraternity members to their classes, where she quietly sits through lectures.  She also attends football games, marches on the field with the band, and helps raise money with the Charity Newsies, all the while becoming quite popular with Ohio State students.  She spends a few nights in the local animal shelter when two of the frat brothers who dislike dogs try to get rid of her.  One night after returning from the shelter, however, Spe wins everyone over when she alerts the house members to a burglar.  During school breaks, Spe stays with a university art professor—modeled after Will Rannells—who specializes in dog portraits and owns several dogs and cats.  The novel closes with a dinner for dogs at the local Human Society shelter—with Spe as guest of honor, of course—organized by Rosemary and Raymond, the two children who live next to the SigEp house, and who greatly admire Spe.
The Great Adventures of Jack, Jock and Funny.  Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1938. 178 pages.
Illustrated by Will Rannells; Dedicated to Charles L. Hirsch, Who owns Funny.
Twelve-year-old twins, Charles and Chester Gray, open a kennel on the family’s farm after a stray dog shows up at school.  The all-white Collie, Jack, is joined by several other boarders over the summer, including a Scottish Terrier named Jock, two Pointers named Rusty and Sam, and a prissy Cocker Spaniel named Sallie.  Charles’s and Chester’s six-year-old sister, Annabel—who already has a pet rooster named Demosthenes—adds Thistle, a stray kitten, to the growing menagerie.  As the children tend to their kennel, they anticipate their grandfather’s arrival any day.  Grandpa Gray, retiring from his jewelry store business, is coming to live with his son’s family on the farm.  Shortly before venturing to the farm, he acquires Funny, a scruffy Poodle who was a former performer in a dog act.  Grandpa Gray’s train wrecks on the way into town, and Funny runs away.  The twins find the small dog, as the wreck is not far from the farm, but their grandfather develops amnesia and wanders off.  The family is puzzled as to Grandpa Gray’s whereabouts, but suspect he might be visiting his brother.  Meanwhile, Jock and Funny are stolen, but Jack rescues them.  Annabel takes Funny with her to pick blackberries, and the dog leads her to the front porch of the family’s nearest neighbor—an old, unfriendly hermit.  On the porch sits Grandpa Gray.  Not realizing the grandfather’s identity, the neighbor has been taking care of him.  Once Annabel recognizes her grandfather and explains to him that he was in a train accident, Grandpa Gray’s memory returns and he is united with the family on the farm.
The Forest Road: Two Boys In the Ozarks.  Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1939. 158 pages.
Illustrated by Alma Wentzel Froderstrom; Dedicated to Emerson Evans [Her cousin, the nephew of her Welsh grandmother, Eleanor Evans].
On a vacation / business venture, eleven-year-old Robert Brown and his father turn down the wrong country road and the trailer they are pulling with their car gets stuck in the mud.  Francis Smith—a county boy the same age as Robert—happens across the scene, riding his horse, Ben, on the way home from school.  Robert’s cat, Whiskers, runs up a tree, and Francis—with the aid of Ben—rescues him.  Being the same age, the two boys become fast friends, and Robert enjoys romping the countryside and resident swamp with Francis—and Francis’s beagle, Sounder.  Francis doesn’t seem to like his father, Japp.  As it turns out, Japp is Francis’s stepfather, as his real father, Mr. Lynn, passed away a year before.  His mother is also not his biological parent, but his father’s second wife, his real mother having died when Francis was an infant.  Japp doesn’t think Francis should spend time playing music, and takes away his violin.  He also insists that Francis use his last name and call him dad, prompting Francis to plan to run away.  The boys soon learn, however, that Francis is actually Robert’s cousin, as Robert’s father is the brother of Francis’s real mother.  In fact, the purpose of the trip to the country is two-fold; Mr. Brown is there to collect plant specimens from the swamp for the government, but he is also there to see how his son and nephew get along because Francis’s father asked him to adopt his son before he died.  Along the way, the boys put on a show for all of Francis’s country neighbors, involving magic tricks performed by Robert, Sounder singing in accompaniment with Francis’s harmonica, and a lecture on swamp plants by Mr. Brown.  The story has a happy ending, with Robert leaving with the Browns, Whiskers, and Sounder, to start a new life where he can freely pursue music.
Timmy: The Dog That Was Different.  Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1941. 191 pages.
Illustrated by Will Rannells; Dedicated to the boys and girls who liked Jack, Jock and Funny.
In this sequel to The Great Adventures of Jack, Jock and Funny, Annabel and her twin brothers, Charles and Chester, live with their father (an insurance salesman), mother (a homemaker), and grandfather (a retired store owner), on a farm.  For a summer job, Charles and Chester decide to run a kennel as they had the previous summer, using the old horse stalls on the property for dogs.  Their first client is the old hermit who lives next door, Mr. Smith.  His friend has a cocker-spaniel named Timmy that needs boarding, on the condition that he sleep next to someone’s bed.  A variety of dogs come to stay at the kennel over the summer, but Timmy stands apart from the others because he is deaf, and there is mystery as to his owner’s relationship to Mr. Smith and their foreign heritage.  Annabel believes Timmy belongs to a princess, and in the end, we learn that Timmy in fact belongs to an exiled royal family, making their way from Persia to Canada.
Mount Delightful: The Story of Ellen Evans and Her Dog Taffy.  Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1944.155 pages.
Illustrated by Sandra James; Dedicated to Ada Norman Clark [Adah Clark was librarian of Pataskala Public Library].
 The Skitter Cat Book. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1947. 261 pages.
Illustrated by J. J. Taber; Dedicated to William C. Youmans, The Little Boy of the Story.

Short Stories

"Hearts By Freight."  Boston Daily Globe (5 May 1910): 12. 1243 words.

"The Man Who Wanted a Dog That Would Kill."  The American Magazine 92.4 (Oct. 1921): 22+. 4583 words.
Illustrated by Douglas Duer.
Dudley Forrester, appropriately nicknamed “Dud,” marries Zoe Forrester and takes her west after her parents suddenly pass away.  He is abusive and goes so far as to shoot her dog, Rover, because the dog is unable to protect the farm animals from mountain lions.  Dud replaces Rover with a young Airedale that he calls "Frowsy."  Zoe dislikes the name, and refers to the puppy as "Duffy" instead.  Duffy is ferocious enough to hold no fear of the mountain lions, yet retains a gentle nature and forms an affectionate bond with Zoe.  Despite her love for the dog, Zoe surmises that Dud stole the Airedale from a kennel and confronts her husband with her suspicions.  Following her accusation, Dud attempts to kick his wife.  In response to Dud’s violent outburst, Duffy lunges at the man in order to protect Zoe.  Unable to get a stranglehold on his opponent as the Airedale has been trained to do, the dog is unable to physically harm Zoe’s attacker.  Instead, Duffy literally scares Dud to death.  The man who wanted a dog to kill has gotten exactly that.  The true owner of the dog soon arrives—it is David Moore, Zoe’s cousin.  Thus, she is reunited with her family, freed of her abusive husband, and will get to stay with her savior, Duffy. 
"The Adventures of Skitter Cat."  Dinty the Porcupine and Other Stories.  True Story Series.  Book Three.  Eds. Clara B. Baker and Edna D. Baker.  Bobbs-Merrill, 1928.  63-90.
Illustrated by Vera Stone Norman.
"Skitter Cat." Winding Roads. Eds. Wilhelmina Harper and Aymer Jay Hamilton. New York: Macmillan, 1928. 200-216.

"Cinder." Child Life 10.6 (June 1931): 270-271. 1528 words.
Illustrated by Ruth Eger.

“The Kidnapped Pup.” Junior Home 13 (June-July 1932). 18-19.
Illustrated by Don Nelson.

"Cinder and Inky." Child Life 11.9 (Sept. 1932): 426-427.
Illustrated by Ruth Eger.

"Cinder and Inky Again."  Child Life 12.8 (Aug. 1933): 376-377. 1028 words.
Illustrated by Ruth Eger.
Inky, a black kitten who is a secondary character in the longer work Cinder, is central protagonist in this short story.  Fascinated by the robins nesting in his backyard apple tree, Inky climbs up the limbs to get a closer look.  Unfortunately for him, he peers a little too close and the feathered parents attack.  Despite the protest from the birds, Inky has climbed too high in the tree and is unable to retreat.  Hearing his frantic mews and the robins’ squawking, Cinder—the tan toy terrier who lives next door—comes to her feline friend’s rescue.  She barks and jumps at the base of the tree until her owner notices the commotion and rigs a meat-laden basket up into the branches to facilitate a safe landing for the curious kitten. 

"Camping in the Rocky Mountains." Friends Around the World. The Curriculum Readers, Vol. 3. Eds. Clara Belle Baker, Mary Maud Reed, and Edna Dean Baker. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1934. 291-308.
"Teddy Horse." Friends Around the World. The Curriculum Readers, Vol. 3. Eds. Clara Belle Baker, Mary Maud Reed, and Edna Dean Baker. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1934. 16-25.
 "Baby Seal." Friends Here and Away. The Curriculum Readers, Vol. 2. Clara Belle Baker, Mary Maud Reed, and Edna Dean Baker, Eds. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1938. 214-222.
"Skitter in the Well." Friends Here and Away. The Curriculum Readers, Vol. 2. Clara Belle Baker, Mary Maud Reed, and Edna Dean Baker, Eds. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1938. 200-213.
"Skitter Cat and Major." The Road to Safety Around the Year. Eds. Horace Mann Buckley, Margaret L. White, Alice B. Adams, and Leslie R. Silvernale. New York: American Book Company, 1938. 95-104.
Illustrated by Ruth Bennett.