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The Cat Who Walked Across France Hardcover – March 2, 2004
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A cat lives contentedly for many years in a seaside village, until his old mistress dies and he is shipped off to another town far away. Lonely and ignored, the gray kitty sets off on an odyssey, lured by memories of "the tangy smell of lemons ripening on a branch under a window at the stone house by the edge of the sea," and driven by "the taste of the salty air that blew off the water and coated the bench behind the stone house by the edge of the sea." Returning finally to his home seaport, the paw-sore old cat finds the door to his stone house still open and inviting. Readers will be pleased (and not surprised) to learn that the new residents welcome the brave and determined fellow with open arms and dishes of food.
Kate Banks and Georg Hallensleben, who have teamed up on several gorgeous and award-winning picture books, including Close Your Eyes, are a creative match made in heaven. Lovely! (Ages 5 and older) --Emilie Coulter
From School Library Journal
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Top Customer Reviews
When the woman dies, her belongings, along with cat, are shipped north to her childhood home. With no one there to love him, the cat decides to leave. He roams the French countryside, sleeping in barns, hunting field mice, and dodging dogs and cars in bustling, big cities. His journey takes him past the Eiffel Tower, over bridges, around castles and ruins, through storms, and into occasional danger.
Time passes. "His fur grew scruffy. Now and again he would stop to linger on a grassy bank or in the cool shade of an ancient wall." Always though he pushed on, dreaming of the stone house by the edge of the sea.
"Thin and frail" the cat finally makes his way home. As he walks up to the door of the stone house, he finds it wide open. Soon he is curled into a small ball, asleep on a couch. When he awakens he finds a boy and girl standing over him. They offer him a platter of food, fresh water, and, satisfyingly, a home.
A map of France on the book's back cover shows the cat's zigzag journey from Rouen in the north to St. Tropez in the south.
Hallensleben's paintings are lushly textured with bold, big, colorful brush strokes.
Excellent as a read aloud.
Reviewed by the Education Oasis Staff.
The unnamed cat, seen walking by a Monet-inspired Notre Dame, seems fated to join his gateaux miserables: "He prowled the street begging for scraps to eat and fleeing from stray dogs! But then, the Gallic spirit arises, and he decides to head for the home he was taken from years ago. The prose respects the intelligence of the young reader, and the inner voice calling him to the sea is believable.
However, this is more of a picture book than an adventure tale. Hallensleben shows the effects of light on scenery as the cat journeys towards the Mediterranean. While Hallensleben's richly textured oils and vast horizons are impressive in their grandeur, they don't distance the reader (perhaps because we can identify with the cat, and because of Hallensleben's warm and varied palette). We see the cat on a bridge overlooking "thundering trains," resting on the lawns of a large, shimmering chateau, seeking refuge in the snowy French Alps, and sipping water near what looks like a Roman bridge.
The paintings of the cat's single-minded journey give the book a unity and emotional pull far beyond its relatively simple story. The cat eventually finds a home and a friendly hand to pet him in a Matisse-inspired home and a Cezanne-inspired sea. This is an excellent book, especially for those who enjoy French landscapes and the painters who envisioned them.
The cat grew up by the sea in St. Tropez, France. It had a nice old woman to look after it and a good comfortable life. When the old woman dies, the cat is sent to the far North, around Rouen, along with her possessions. And by that carelessness that too often occurs at the hands of busy humans, the cat is forgotten. Fortunately, after some begging and escapes from the local dogs, the feline decides to head back to the south. In true cat fashion he doesn't examine why he is doing this. Only that it's something that must be done. The rest of the book follows the cat as he travels from cityscape to countryside and everything in between.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Normally, I'm all for cat books, but this one hurts me a bit, and it's entirely because of how sad the beginning is that I dropped a star from 5 to 4. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Dione Basseri
This was an impulse grab at the library for us. The cover looks like the "Madeline" illustrations. That was what drew my son to the book. Read morePublished 4 months ago by M. Heiss
Such a sweet book. The illustrations are wonderful, and the story, though short, will appeal to all ages.Published 5 months ago by Jan Janzen
Very cute and beautifully illustrated. My granddaughter has me read it to her over and over!Published 9 months ago by Lou
Paintings were great but the story was thin! Could have been a classic like " Paddle To the Sea" with more ....story! Read morePublished 10 months ago by louis
Just a great children's book and fun for adults to with all the country views of France. This is one lucky kitty cat;she has a tough journey at first. Read morePublished 11 months ago by M. Hale