New season, same children’s book reviews…
We have a few cat lovers in our family, including my husband. So when he saw the most recent children’s book that I’m reviewing, The Abbot and I, as told by Josie the Cat, lying on the kitchen counter, he couldn’t resist picking it up and spontaneously reading it aloud to our ninth grade son, who is also a cat lover. A phone called interrupted his quiet storytelling, but I noticed that as soon as the call ended, Nicholas asked my husband to finish the story. Honestly, I hadn’t read the book yet myself; I’d chosen it partly because I thought it would appeal to a young age group, and so I was surprised to watch how a teenager can be captivated by this playful, cat lovers account of life with an Abbot.
Monasticism can so often seem foreign and even off-putting in our modern worldly lives, but the prayerful, simple loveliness depicted in this sweet book of monastic life, told from the cat’s point of view, is very relatable, even for dog lovers like me. The author, Sarah Elizabeth Cowie, uses the cat to bring humor and lightness into the book without over working the literary device. The illustrations, by Sarah Selby, are just right, especially the expressions on the cat’s and the Abbot’s face as they spend quiet busy days together.
The Abbot and I, as told by Josie the Cat is a sweet story that gives a simple and positive understanding of monastic life. Children will enjoy reading it by comparing their cat’s life with Josie’s, as the mysterious life of a monk becomes a bit more relatable and closer to their own home. Although my teenager liked the story and told many silly cat jokes about our not so dignified cat, the book is aimed at a younger audience and is simple enough for children age 4 and up.