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The Cat Who Walked Across France

by Kate Banks
Illustrated by Georg Hallensleben

Published by Frances Foster Books / Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2004
32 pages
ISBN: 0-374-39968-9

Ages 5-8

When the old woman dies, her cat is shipped north, away from the sea and the home he knew. There is no one and nothing there for him. So the cat embarks on a journey that eventually takes him back to "the stone house by the edge of the sea." That phrase is the repeated refrain in this quiet, masterful picture book that follows the cat's pointed wanderings. He travels through countryside, small towns, and cities full of dizzying traffic. Banks's rich, evocative language and skillful pacing reflect the cats' bursts of activity, and also his moments of quite repose, when the smells and sounds and sea breezes that were once tangible come back to him in memory, and propel him on again. Georg Hallenselben's textured, color-saturated paintings are a lovely extension of the narrative. He alters the size and placement of the solitary feline traveler from scene to scene to further suggest feelings such as loneliness, vulnerability, independence, or contentment. (MS) 2004 Cooperative Children's Book Center

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