cover image Cat Heaven

Cat Heaven

Cynthia Rylant. Blue Sky Press (AZ), $16.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-590-10054-0

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. A surer bet for Rylant fans is The Blue Hill Meadows (reviewed below). All ages. (Sept.)