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Lola Sneyd
Illustrated by Doug Sneyd
Toronto, Simon & Pierre, 1991. 69pp, paper, $9.95
ISBN 0-88924-209-7. CIP

Grades 4 to 7/Ages 9to l2

Reviewed by Maryleah Otto

Volume 20 Number 3
1992 May

You've heard of English lit? Of juvenile lit? Well, here you have kitty lit - seventy pages of it, and unless you're incurably in love with domestic felines, you'll probably be more inclined to appreciate Ogden Nash's pithy summation of cats, namely, "The trouble with a kitten is that/ Eventually it becomes a cat," than Lola Sneyd's unabashed adoration of all the cute, precocious, supercilious, enigmatic pussy folk that she extols, more or less poetically, in fifty-five short verses.

I think children from age six to nine, if they like cats, will enjoy this book. They will feel that they too could write like this. And, with a bit of practice, they could, because most of the poems (and the prose disguised as poetry) are reminiscent of the sort of anthology that students produced in grades 4 to 7.

Occasionally there are interesting analogies, such as the cat that slides into its feeding dish 'like a batter sliding into home base" or good imagery as in "My Olympic Tabby Cat," which describes a cat playing in autumn leaves, but with just a few excep­tions, the collection lacks lustre. It's too saccharine and sentimental. Although the style is appropriate for quite young readers, the vocabulary will present some hurdles, for example, variegated, hypnotized, bevelled, sauteed, haughtily.

Doug Sneyd's black-and-white cartoon illustrations are witty and lively. They bring the text to life, often in wonderfully surpris­ing ways, if you really need another cat in your library, adopt this one. If not, then buy a dog.

Maryleah Otto, St. Thomas Public Library, St. Thomas, Ont.

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