THE CAT, THE CROW, AND THE BANYAN TREE by Penelope Lively

THE CAT, THE CROW, AND THE BANYAN TREE

by & illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 10
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 The author of The Ghost of Thomas Kempe (1973) and other fantasies for children (and also a Booker Prize winner for her adult fiction) adds to her distinguished list a picture book with a delectably sly subtext on narrative style. Cat and Crow tell stories under a banyan tree. Cat's, like Cat herself, are ``elegant and entertaining''; Crow's are ``fast and furious.'' One day each in turn tells a story that takes both right into the tree, a marvelous intertwining of trunks, branches, and peering creatures. In Cat's atmospheric tale--which is virtually without event--they explore the tree's mysterious dark spaces and go on to the mountains of the moon. Crow's--beginning ``We're off!...They're after us!''--is all action; a kaleidoscope of characters zip by while Crow brushes aside Cat's anxious queries (``Where to?'' ``Why?''). Yet the frenzy leaves no trace: Back home, Crow is bored even before the dust settles. The tea party on the last spread doesn't quite tie all this up, but the parody of fictive styles is intriguing, while Milne's imaginative visualization (in lively cross-hatched detail) echoes the witty descriptions and overarching theme: be it sublime or merely fast- paced, story's reach can be broad and deep. There's enough of the Saturday morning cartoon here to grab kids; those prepared to see it will find much more. (Picture book. 4-10)

Pub Date: April 1st, 1994
ISBN: 1-56402-325-7
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Candlewick
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1994




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