The Cat Who Walked Across France
Author: Kate Banks; Illustrator: Georg Hallensleben
Pages: 40
Publisher/Date: Frances Foster Books/
Farrar Straus and Giroux
ISBN: 0374399689
Age Levels: 4-8

Book Review

"For many years the cat had lived in the stone house by the edge of the sea . . . He chased the wind that scuttled through the garden . . . At dusk he curled up in the bend of the old woman's arm" and she scratched his ears and stroked his back. "Good kitty," she tells him, "good kitty."

When the woman dies, her belongings, along with cat, are shipped north to her childhood home. With no one there to love him, the cat decides to leave. He roams the French countryside, sleeping in barns, hunting field mice, and dodging dogs and cars in bustling, big cities. His journey takes him past the Eiffel Tower, over bridges, around castles and ruins, through storms, and into occasional danger.

Time passes. "His fur grew scruffy. Now and again he would stop to linger on a grassy bank or in the cool shade of an ancient wall." Always though he pushed on, dreaming of the stone house by the edge of the sea.

"Thin and frail" the cat finally makes his way home. As he walks up to the door of the stone house, he finds it wide open. Soon he is curled into a small ball, asleep on a couch. When he awakens he finds a boy and girl standing over him. They offer him a platter of food, fresh water, and, satisfyingly, a home.

A map of France on the book's back cover shows the cat's zigzag journey from Rouen in the north to St. Tropez in the south.

Hallensleben's paintings are lushly textured with bold, big, colorful brush strokes.

Works well as a read aloud.

Reviewed by the teachers at Education Oasis.
©2004 Education Oasis®

About the Author

Kate Banks is the author of several picture books for children, including And If the Moon Could Talk, winner of the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, The Night Worker, winner of the Charlotte Zolotow Award, and Baboon. Ms. Banks lives in the South of France.

About the Illustrator

Georg Hallensleben has illustrated several books for children. He lives in Paris, France.