“The way to Cat Heaven is a field of sweet grass, where crickets and butterflies play!”
With a gentle, playful rhyme, Newbery Medalist Cynthia Rylant explores all the ways our beloved cats enjoy Cat Heaven, as she did for dogs in the bestselling companion book, DOG HEAVEN. Her shining artwork illustrates a world of peace for cats in Heaven, where no tree is too tall for exploring, where there is no lack of angels’ laps for sleeping.
If your child wonders where his or her kitty goes after a happy life on Earth, they can rest assured that all cats “know where the angel cats fly. They’ll run past the stars and the moon and the sun . . . to curl up with God in the sky.”
Those who liked Rylant’s Dog Heaven will undoubtedly welcome this companion volume, which is similar in its themes and execution. The text, this time in rhyme, has the same complement of sentimentality; the art again consists of bright, cheery paintings rendered in a primitive style. Detractors, however, will note the same weaknesses present in the earlier volume. The language seems coy or precious: “”The way to Cat Heaven/ is a field of sweet grass/ where crickets/ and butterflies play…./ There’s just so much fun on the way!”” The rhymes often strain: when a cat needs to “”just simply ponder,”” Rylant says, “”she will watch the old house/ where she once lived and wandered.”” Here God is multicultural–his face alternates between pink, brown and beige on different pages–and he really likes cats. God sits reading in Cat Heaven, where cats “”are so loved and spoiled/ God lets them all/ lie on His bed,”” and when he walks in his garden there is “”a kitty asleep on His head.”” Whether or not this view of heaven will please the clergy or be helpful to children who have lost pets, Rylant’s feel-good book is bound to appeal to adults whose taste in reading is dominated by a pronounced sweet tooth.
Every bit as rich in eye-dimming sentiment as Dog Heaven (1995), this will kindle sighs even from the feline-indifferent. Writing in rhyme, Rylant assures readers that all cats already know the way to heaven’s yellow door, and once past it will never want for laps, toys, or full kitty dishes. Rylant paints in the same extremely naive style of the first book, with large brushes and bright, opaque colors; heaven is a place with trees and clouds to perch on, fields to leap through–and a garden full of tall flowers, where God walks “with a good black book [“Garden Tips”] and a kitty asleep on His head.” Comforting and amiable, this is tinged with gentle humor. (Picture book. 3-6)
School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 2. Cat Heaven sounds like paradise. A rhyming text describes a realm in which felines are fed from God’s countertop, a place where they no longer get stuck in trees because now they can fly. There are thousands of toys, and soft angel laps in which to cuddle. There is even a quiet time to look back on former homes and loving people. The primitive, childlike painting style is similar to Rylant’s work in Dog Heaven (Scholastic, 1995). Both books serve the same purpose of comforting anyone mourning a lost pet, but the writing flows more easily and the pictures are more mature in Cat Heaven. The story has spiritualism and reverence but not in a traditional manner. God is depicted as a kindly older man who washes the cats’ bowls and “walks in His garden with a good black book and a kitty asleep on His head.” His coloring varies from pink to brown to yellowish tan. The visual impact of the book is stunning. Cats of all colors frolic through the exuberantly hued pages. Vibrant yellows, blues, reds, purples, and greens create a feast for the eyes. Even the color of the text changes to contrast with the background. Whether read as a story to younger children or used in a discussion of the nature of heaven with older ones, this deceptively simple, sweet book is rewarding.?Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher’s School, Richmond, VA
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
I stood and read through this book in Books A Million and cried my eyes out right there in front of God and everybody, then forked over the full price for the book (which I rarely do—I usually get them here at Amazon discounted). This is the very best book I’ve ever read on losing a pet. My old cat is 14 years old and just the thought of him being in this “Cat Heaven” made me smile and laugh out loud (after the tears!) I read this to my four year old grandson after he’d lost a kitty and it comforted him, too. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has ever loved and lost a beloved pet. You will NOT be disappointed!
Barnes & Noble
I love this book. I have given it as a gift to several friends and children to comfort them after their cats have died. However,the most recent copy I bought was for myself. My 18 year old cat, Finian finally succombed to her several health problems just months after my other cat, 18 year old Tempest, had to be euthanized because she had mouth cancer. I read this sweet book (the first time in several years) and remembered and grieved my wonderful cats.
A great book to give to anyone who has suffered the loss of their beloved cat. Helped me after the death of Skittles, my Siamese 16th birthday gift & lap kitty extraordinaire.