Author(s): Esther Averill
Captains of the City Streets is another trip into the world of the legendary Cat Club of Greenwich Village. Two adventurous young cats-Sinbad and the Duke-are best friends who share a "trampish love of the free and easy life." They travel together, away from the tall buildings of the north, in search of a home where they can practice the skip and shuffle of their boxing technique. With luck, they find themselves proud residents of their very own home-an abandoned shack in an overgrown garden. Food is scarce until one man, an old sea captain new to the neighborhood, notices them and becomes their "Master of the Supper Nook." When the duo follow their new Master home, they witness one of the first meetings of the famous Cat Club. Sinbad and the Duke decide they don't need the "rules and obligations" of membership in any club; but as they join in its business and frolics, they realize that perhaps the Club needs them. Ready for any challenge, Sinbad and the Duke, the Captains of the City Streets, charm the Cat Club's admirers with their free spirits and "nifty" street smarts, as they grow up and ultimately find friendship and a place where they belong.
Esther Averill (1902-1992) began her career as a storyteller drawing cartoons for her local newspaper. After graduating from Vassar College in 1923, she moved first to New York City and then to Paris, where she founded her own publishing company. The Domino Press introduced American readers to artists from all over the world, including Feodor Rojankovsky, who later won a Caldecott Award. In 1941, Esther Averill returned to the United States and found a job in the New York Public Library while continuing her work as a publisher. She wrote her first book about the red-scarfed, mild-mannered cat Jenny Linsky in 1944, modeling its heroine on her own shy cat. Esther Averill would eventually write twelve more tales about Miss Linsky and her friends (including the I Can Read Book, The Fire Cat), each of which was eagerly awaited by children all over the United States (and their parents, too).