Wednesday, May 11, 2016

61 Books: #26

The project: to read 61 books, of whatever sort—short, long; literature, schlock; prose, poetry: you name it—before December 4, 2016.

The first ten books can be seen here. The second ten are here. Nos. 21–25 are just below this post.

26. Jo Ellen Bogart, with illustrations by Sydney Smith, The White Cat and the Monk: A Retelling of the Poem "Pangur Bán" (2016) (5/11/16)
I ordered this book because I appreciate beautiful children's picture books, and the reviews on Amazon suggested that this qualified. And yes: it definitely does.

I also got it because of our newest kitty, Luna—whom I will henceforth call Luna Bán (bán meaning white).

The book itself is, indeed, beautiful: gorgeous illustrations, of a gray-stone monastery, a lively white kitty, a monk poring over his illuminated manuscripts. Pangur catches mice and hunts butterflies; the monk studies his book, "hunting for meaning."

Perhaps more meaningful than the sweetly illustrated book, though, is the true story behind it: in the ninth century, an Irish Benedictine monk, while visiting the Reichenau Abbey in southern Germany, wrote a little rhymed poem about his white cat, Pangur Bán, who shared his small room. "He found similarities in their pastimes. Each was seeking something."

As are we all. No?

Plus, we all get a little homesick when we're far from home. I like to think that played into his poem as well. He missed his little white kitty.

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