Bookworm is studying history and literature with Bookshark, 5th grade. The core covers the Eastern Hemisphere. Many of the books I’ll be reading this year are part of that core. Today’s book is one of them.
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The Cat Who Went to Heaven by Elizabeth Coatsworth tells the story of an artist who lives in Japan and is very poor. He and his servant barely have enough to eat, which is why the artist is so upset when his servant brings home a white cat.
Soon after, the artist is commissioned by a local temple to create a painting of the death of Buddha for the temple. The artist knows that if the priests at the temple like his work, his fortune will be made and he will become a very popular artist. If they reject his work, he will get no further work from anyone in the town.
The artist pours his entire being into the work, and the white cat keeps him company throughout. In the end, the artist makes a daring decision about the content of the painting that may lead to the painting’s ultimate rejection.
I can’t say much more without giving away the story.
This book is appropriate for kids ages 8 to 12.
It also won a John Newberry Medal, which is why I am surprised that I really didn’t care for the book. Sure, I learned a lot about the life of Buddha by reading about how the artist created his great painting, but I did not care for the mysticism.
Keep in mind, I’m a cat lover. I did enjoy reading about the cat’s relationship with the artist and the servant, but, I honestly did not care for the book. Maybe it’s because I don’t know a lot about Buddha’s life. I’m not sure.
Bookworm will be reading this book in the next few weeks, so I’ll be curious to hear his opinion.
Have you or your kids read this book? If so, did you enjoy it?
3 out of 5 stars on the Mom’s Plans’ scale.