Thursday, April 14, 2011

I Celebrate National Library Week -- and Cats!

This is National Library Week and I thought I would combine my celebration of libraries with my on-going celebration of cats.

One of the things libraries do best is introducing us to new favorite books–books we missed when they were first published perhaps, or older, out-of-print books, or books which we love so much we decide to go purchase them. My new favorite library find which fits in this last category is The Cat Who Walked Across France by Kate Banks and illustrated by Georg Hallensleben. This charming picture book brought to mind my own experiences with cats I have met in my travels in Europe. The outrageously spoiled English cat (who traveled from one hotel guest’s room to another, receiving treats) and the Swiss ‘therapist’ cat I met in a meadow in Gstaad (who definitely understood English and had a very soothing and comforting demeanor) seemed very happy and secure.

The little grey cat who walked across France had once been a loved and contented companion but had been displaced after the death of his elderly mistress. Taken far from his home in the south and unhappy and ignored in his new home, he remembered “the tangy smell of lemons ripening on a branch under a window at the stone house by the sea” and began his long walk home. After a difficult journey he finally did find his old home again, and new companions there to care for him. The title alone had attracted me, but the book has gorgeous bright, painterly illustrations that remind me of the work of post Impressionist French painters. It’s a simple and poignant story of regaining a home and love seemingly lost forever, and I was delighted by it.

Libraries are filled with old favorites and new discoveries --a treasure trove of books -- and one week is too short a time to celebrate them!

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