CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Bernadette Renaud.
Illustrated by Josette Michaud.

Victoria, Press Porcépic, c1983.
Distributed by Beaverbooks.
83pp, paper, $6.95.
ISBN 0-88878-212-8.

Grades 4 and up.
Reviewed by Robert W. Bruinsma.

Volume 12 Number 3
1984 May

When publishers send books to reviewers, they often include with the book their own glowing description and assessment of the work in hopes, I suppose, of helping the reviewer write a positive review. I do not read these house-reviews until after I've read the book myself and jotted down some of my own impressions first. Yet, in the instance of The Cat in the Cathedral, I must confess that the review provided by Press Porcepic captured the essence of this little novel:

       The Cat in the Cathedral is the story of the friendship that grows
       between a lonely church organist and a stray cat. Led by the antics
       of this mischievous feline, the two friends bemuse the church vicar,
       astound the caretaker, and enchant the altar boys, while learning at
       the same time to care for each other. . . . This gentle tale explores
       with humour and perceptiveness the problem of loving others whose needs
       we do not understand.

The Cat in the Cathedral is a translation from the French and manages somehow to maintain some of the rhythm and cadence of the original, perhaps due, in part, to being written entirely in the present tense. The four illustrations, reproduced from watercolours, complement the muted, introspective tone of the book.

I would highly recommend this fine piece of Canadian literature, although I realize that it is going to take some creative selling on the part of teachers and librarians to get kids to choose this quiet story over the brassy, flashy stuff that is usually directed at readers in this age category. But then, what are teachers and librarians for?

Robert W. Bruinsma, King's College, Edmonton, AB.
line indexes


1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995


The materials in this archive are copyright © The Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission Copyright information for reviewers

Young Canada Works