cover image Cats Vanish Slowly

Cats Vanish Slowly

Ruth Tiller. Peachtree Publishers, $16.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-56145-106-7

Only an accomplished poet could wind her way as gracefully and surefootedly around and through perfectly chosen words and phrases as Tiller does in these 12 verses about cats; and only a chronic ailurophile could portray the elusive, often mysterious feline personality with such affection as Seeley. Beginning with ``Melting Pot,'' which enumerates the denizens of Grandmother's house (``There was room in her heart for each one''), Tiller (Cinnamon, Mint and Mothballs) goes on to describe not just the cats there, but a gentle, bygone way of life (``In midsummer the leaves sagged like listless flags''). Her poems are sometimes funny (``B.P. was a criminal cat'' with ``a swagger to rival James Dean's''), often tender or dramatic. Seeley's (Agatha's Feather Bed) painterly illustrations--some full page, some small pieces that precede the verses--feature cats with distinctive, true-to-life expressions, postures and identities. But the reflective, frequently nostalgic mood of the poems and the unvarying earnestness of the art seems likelier to please adult cat fanciers more than children. Ages 6-10. (Aug.)