CM . . . .
Volume V Number 1 . . . . September 4, 1998
THINGS WERE IMPOSSIBLE! Teelo couldn't bear being around any of these crazy creatures a moment longer! He left the house, went into the forest and climbed a tree. From his hiding place amid its branches he watched the other animals greeting Victor when he came home: Sylvie the snake hissed happily, Terry the terrier tugged at Victor's pant leg, growling with glee, and the rooster, the hens and the parrot perched on Victor's head and shoulders, crowing and clucking and shrieking with joy.Teelo, the title cat, is far from being an adventurous fellow. He just wants a comfortable home and a little peace and quiet. Once he takes that first ride on the kayak, however, his life is forever changed. When Teelo's owner must conform to her apartment building's "no pets" ruling, Victor the vet kindly agrees to keep Teelo on his island home, to which he commutes by kayak. Once settled in, Teelo quickly adapts to his new environment, but soon Victor begins kayaking home other animals that can no longer stay with their owners. Each new addition adopts Teelo's snoozing spot, and he finds another, only to have it taken over by the next homeless pet. Each adaptation results in a variation of the phrase "things couldn't be better, until..." using the progressively uneasy adjectives "fine", "bearable", "tolerable", and finally "impossible", at which point Teelo decides to accompany Victor on a quest for peace. At Thunder Rock, though, Teelo is terrified by menacing wild creatures. The chaotic but friendly turmoil at home seems infinitely more attractive. On the last page, readers see Teelo happily settling into the comfortable confusion of home. The back cover illustration of a resigned Teelo tolerating a baby chick, with a strutting rooster and a playful puppy behind them, is an amusing extension to the ending.
Using vivid gouache colours, Eugenie Fernandes has imbibed the illustrations with such energy that you can almost hear the squawking and flapping of chickens. While Victor is depicted as the calm and kindly vet who is oblivious of the tumult created by the riotous animals, Teelo's expressions mirror his growing alarm and frustration as the new pets wreck his ordered home. With little chicks hatching all over, the terrier tearing Teelo's favourite cushion while a hen nips his tail, the cat's desperation to escape is given visual clarification.
An avid kayaker herself, Maria Coffey has fashioned an improbable, exaggerated story about a menagerie of discarded pets and the tender-hearted vet who gives them all a home.
Alison Mews is the Coordinator of the Centre for Instructional Services, Faculty of Education, Memorial University of Newfoundland St. John's, Newfoundland.
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Copyright © 1998 the Manitoba Library Association.
Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice
is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without
Copyright © 1998 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.