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Critterati: the literary, costumed pet

Critterati FAIL

Critterati FAIL

I’ve been meaning to post about the Book Bench‘s whimsical dress-up-your-pet-as-literary-character Critterati contest for several days, but there have been technical difficulties. Namely, my cat, Mr. Oliver Dash Stameshkin-Zook, has proved resistant to dressing up as Dickensian orphan Oliver Twist. Blood was shed; there may even be scars. What there isn’t, sadly, is a photograph of Oliver in a Newsies cap, looking expectantly up at me from an empty food bowl. Please sir, can I have some more?

He was willing to show his love for the dictionary, however, so perhaps he prefers The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee?

The New Yorker‘s Book Bench blog is accepting entries through the end of this weekend. Via Book Bench:

Take a picture of your pet—dog, cat, ferret, iguana, or any other nonhuman member of the animal kingdom—dressed as a character from literature, and upload it to by October 25th. Then leave it to our panel of judges, including New Yorker staff writer Susan Orlean; Laura Porco, the director of Kindle Books, who brings her dog, Brutus, to work; and Karen Ngo, the writer and photographer behind “Indognito: A Book of Canines in Costume.” Five winners will receive a signed copy of “Indognito” and will be featured in a slide show on Cross-dressing is permitted; punning is tolerated; excessive Photoshopping is not. Results will be announced on October 28th.

Check out the response at The Millions, who, to get you started, suggest “Dante and Fur-gil,” “Tess of the O’Paw-bervilles,” and “Jay Catsby.”

And don’t miss the ever-growing gallery of Critterati. Unfortunately, Photoshop has tainted a few entries, but most are delightful. My favorite contender so far is a massive white cat enduring what I mistook at first for a mermaid’s tale: yep, she’s Moby Dick. I also quite like this staging of “Waiting for Dogot”, and kudos to this bedridden cat who, like FWR contributor Sarah Van Arsdale, was inspired by The Magic Mountain.

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