________________ CM . . . . Volume V Number 18 . . . . May 7, 1999

cover Catmagic.

Loris Lesynski.
Willowdale, ON: Annick Press, 1998.
32 pp., cloth & pbk., $15.95 (cl), $5.95 (pbk).
ISBN 1-55037-533-4 (cl), 1-55037-532-6 (pbk).

Subject Headings:
Cats-Juvenile poetry.
Witches-Juvenile poetry.
Children's poetry, Canadian (English).

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 4-7.
Review by Harriet Zaidman.

**** /4


But everyone saw,
as they helped her unpack,
that Arabelle's cat wasn't
standard or black.

Blotchy and splotchy
from tail-tip to head,
two paws in purple,
one amber, one red.

A jumble of crimsons
and blues in a blur,
orange and yellow
and limy-green fur.

inside picture Poems are wonderful ways to get kids thinking, moving, giggling and jiggling. Make that poem funny and about a silly topic, and the fun is doubled. Catmagic is a book of rhyme and rhythm about displaced witches and a cat who find a happy solution to their problem.

      Loris Lesynski has written a comic verse that will delight young children. The author of Boy Soup, or When Giant Caught Cold and Ogre Fun, she displays consistent strength throughout Catmagic as a children's poet and illustrator. Arabelle the Witch and her multi-coloured cat Izzy are ready to retire and find a vacancy at the Witches' Retirement Home. The problem arises when the cat's crazy fur conflicts with all the crazy-coloured memorabilia collected by all the other witches in the overcrowded residence. Izzy gets tripped over, stepped on and flattened, and the witches are worried for their safety in their old age. Arabelle offers to leave with Izzy, but Izzy won't have it. He finds a solution, using magic of course. At the same time, he proves that, even though the witches are retired, they still have the "right stuff."

      Kids will be engaged by the humorous subject matter and beat as well as the interestingly drawn and colourful illustrations. Lesynski draws the interior of the retirement home from several perspectives. Every object is full of paisleys, stripes, polka dots, stars and every other intricate design. The colours are dizzying, making it easy for a cat to be mistaken as part of the furniture. The pictures are funny by themselves, as Izzy protects himself against being crushed by donning a spaghetti pot on his back and a colander on his head.

      Catmagic is a book for all seasons, not just Hallowe'en. It will make a great addition to any book collection. A great read-aloud.

Highly Recommended.

Harriet Zaidman is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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ISSN 1201-9364