For each letter, a pair of poems--one about a cat belonging to a minister (or vicar, or bishop, etc.), another about a mouse of contrasting character inhabiting the same household. The creatures do behave a lot like cats and mice; more significantly, they satirize human foibles. Thus ""Holy Helen"" tries to convert ""Hectic Harold""; knowing that she eats the recalcitrant, Harold ""Gets religion/On the spot,/Just to save him/From the pot."" But not all the beasts are involved in the chase. Queenie (a mouse) is ""Quizzical./Metaphysical./She wants to know why. . .Can no one tell her?/Can no one quell her?""--while Ximenes, who ""came in with the milk"" on Christmas, is modest, quiet, a bringer of good fortune to ""keep evil from your door."" Though varied in tone, the comical predominates in these deftly phrased, rather British vignettes, and is emphasized in Parkins' lively drawings in a derisive style that recalls the work of Tony Ross. This won't take the place of Eliot's Practical Cats, but it's entertaining nonetheless.
Pub Date: July 15, 1990
Page Count: -
Publisher: Andre Deutsch--dist. by Trafalgar Square/David & Charles