Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Cavalcade of Cats: The Cat Who Walked Across France

Next up on our list of cat-related books is The Cat Who Walked Across France, written by Kate Banks and illustrated by Georg Hallensleben.

Filled with charming, colorful paintings, this book tells the story of an un-named, dainty grey and white cat who lived a peaceful, companionable life with an old woman in a cottage by the sea. Sadly, his woman dies and all of her possessions are shipped away. The cat is forgotten and very lonely. He becomes a stray and roams from place to place. We see France through the cat's perspective, and experience how loneliness feels slightly different from one environment to another, farm to city, park to bridge. We also see how he survives, always moving, always in search of the happiness he once knew in the cottage by the sea. Eventually, he makes his way back to that stone cottage, and walks inside the open door to curl up and rest. When he awakens he finds that the cottage is now inhabited by a kind family with two small children, who are delighted to find the stray and give him food and affection. Unbeknown to them, the cat has found home again, in more ways than one.

This is a poetic, vividly descriptive tale that explores loss, healing, and what makes a house a home. Children will learn that experiencing loss, and learning to love again, is very much a journey--one that is sometimes lonely and difficult. But if one perseveres and keeps hope alive, happiness can be found again.

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