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CALABASH CAT by James Rumford


and His Amazing Journey

by James Rumford & illustrated by James Rumford

Age Range: 6 - 8

Pub Date: Sept. 22nd, 2003
ISBN: 0-618-22423-8
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Setting off down a road to find the world’s end, a cat not only discovers that it’s not what he supposes, but not what anyone he meets—with one final exception—supposes, either. Inspired by a burn-decorated animal carving acquired in Chad, Rumford illustrates this simply related original tale, told both in English and in a Chadian dialect written in Arabic script, with strong-lined ink drawings done in the same animistic style. Carried by a camel, a horse, a tiger, and a whale, each of whom wrongly assures him that he’s reached his goal, the cat crosses desert and grassland, jungle and ocean, before at last encountering an eagle to fly him home across a “world without end.” On the last spread, the road, previously represented by a sinuous line in the background, combines its changing hues into an arching rainbow, bringing the cat back home with a dramatic burst of color. The author of Traveling Man (2001) and other tales, in which the journey is more meaningful than the destination, will gain a host of younger fans with this feline odyssey. (Picture book. 6-8)