A traveling cat

George Ella Lyon, 1949-

Book - 1998

When discovered on the playground in front of the drive-in movie screen, Boulevard, a stray cat, stays in her new home for a short while before taking to the road.

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Location Call Number   Status
Children's Room jE/Lyon Due May 26, 2024
Picture books
New York : Orchard Books 1998.
Main Author
George Ella Lyon, 1949- (-)
Other Authors
Paul Brett Johnson (illustrator)
Physical Description
unpaged : ill
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

Ages 4^-6. A little girl tells of finding a cat at the drive-in theater and taking it home. Bouvie the cat makes herself at home, gives birth to five kittens, raises them for a few months, then heads for the hills in flood time and never comes back. The child misses Bouvie and looks for her, but she recognizes that Bouvie was always "a traveling cat," and she keeps one of the kittens. Written with simplicity and dignity, this story conveys both the child's emotions and the cat's independence without the fuss and gush so often associated with pet stories. The full-color pastel artwork uses overlaid colors and shadowing to create a series of varied and effective double-page spreads. Like the writing, the softly delineated illustrations portray emotions with restraint. A quiet picture book with a rural American setting. --Carolyn Phelan

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Lyon's (A Sign) gracefully folksy prose is matched with Johnson's (The Cow Who Wouldn't Come Down) nostalgic depictions to somber effect in this touching tale of a stray cat who moves in and out of a small-town family's life. "Boulevard was a traveling cat. We named her after the road," begins the narrator, the girl who finds the cat at the drive-in movie. The mostly double-page pencil drawings are shaded to look dusty and a little faded, reinforcing the down-home, period setting. Johnson provides some deeply brooding illustrations. For example, when spring floods prompt the local animals, including Boulevard, to flee to "high ground somewhere in the hills," a drawing of a spindly bridge over swollen water reveals the grief-stricken narrator standing alone near a cluster of worried neighbors: "Only [the Macs' dog] came back." The girl has one of Boulevard's kittens to console her, and the work ends on a poignant, bravely upbeat tone: Mom ventures that Boulevard might have found another family, and "If she did, I'd like to tell them, `Don't expect to keep her. She's a traveling cat.'" The projection of sympathy may console readers whose own pets have also turned out to be the traveling type. Ages 4-7. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 2-Not the typical cat story in which a stray appears, adopts a family, and contentment follows, this realistic vignette has moments of both tenderness and sadness. "Boulevard was a traveling cat. We named her after the road." When the feline follows Ruth from the concession stand at the drive-in movie, the family welcomes her into their home. In the fall, she has a litter of five kittens and stays through the winter. Come spring and flood time she retreats, like the other animals, and when she doesn't return they know she has taken to the road again. The colored-pencil illustrations are lifelike but not greeting-card cute. Their dappled texture and the earthiness of the palette create the right feeling for this unsentimental story. The time period is not identified, but visual clues of automobiles and clothing styles as well as the drive-in movie setting indicate the 1950s. The story reads like a personal remembrance, typical of Lyon. The message is subtle and the telling of a shared time remembered fondly is poignant.-Julie Cummins, New York Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Horn Book Review

(Preschool) Arresting illustrations combine softly textured impressionist landscapes with carefully delineated, almost three-dimensional, characters to enhance an economical, poignant story. Tone is established with the initial sentence: ""Boulevard was a traveling cat. We named her after the road."" The narrator, a girl of about nine or ten, then describes the months that follow as the independent feline becomes part of the household, gives birth to five kittens, and then disappears into the hills after the spring floods, presumably to renew her wandering ways. Summer comes again-but not Boulevard (however, she has left a legacy: a stay-at-home kitten the family names Bruce). As the narrator says, ""Her home is the road."" This conclusion strikes exactly the right note: neither sentimental nor maudlin, just a simple observation. In fact, the entire text, which reads like a well-made, very short story, is understated yet evocative, allowing the illustrations to convey place and action. m.m.b. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

Some cats are born to travel, and such a one is Boulevard, who appears at a drive-in one evening, stays with the young narrator and her family for a year, then leaves as the spring floods arrive. In Lyon's modest text, the child's attachment to her foundling comes through clearly, as does her wistful acceptance at the end that it's not in Boulevard's nature to be a pet. With colored pencils, Johnson produces impressionistic scenes of a semi-rural 1950s setting through which Boulevard, small and dark, pads with composure; she bears and raises a litter of kittens, watches squirrels out the window from a perch on the dryer, shows the dog who's boss, then moves on, a solitary figure on a curving country road. It's rare to find such a distinctly drawn animal character without a trace of an anthropomorphic trait, but Boulevard is through and through a cat among cats. (Picture book. 5-7)

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.