The White Cat and the Monk: A Retelling of the Poem

by Jo Ellen Bogart and Sydney Smith

A graceful prose retelling of a 9th-century Gaelic poem thought to have been written... read more

A graceful prose retelling of a 9th-century Gaelic poem thought to have been written by an Irish monk in a German abbey. In the poem, the monk compares the cat’s hunt for mice to his own search for knowledge. Sydney Smith’s watercolor and ink illustrations provide a strong sense of time and place while his use of sequential art, in some cases on wordless page spreads, gives the book a wholly modern feel. Mostly illustrated in somber tones, the pictures burst into color when showing an illuminated manuscript that is a visual echo of the poem itself. An author’s note places the poem into a historical context, saying it’s “a peek into the time and mind of one poet” but that it also resonates age after age with anyone who has ever worked alongside a beloved pet. (Ages 5–10)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2017

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