The White Cat and the Monk

The White Cat and the Monk

A Retelling of the Poem “Pangur Bán”

Written by: Bogart, Jo Ellen
Illustrated by: Smith, Sydney
ages 4 to 8 / grades P to 3

A monk leads a simple life. He studies his books late into the evening and searches for truth in their pages. His cat, Pangur, leads a simple life, too, chasing prey in the darkness. As night turns to dawn, Pangur leads his companion to the truth he has been seeking.

The White Cat and the Monk is a retelling of the classic Old Irish poem “Pangur Bán.” With Jo Ellen Bogart’s simple and elegant narration and Sydney Smith’s classically inspired images, this contemplative story pays tribute to the wisdom of animals and the wonders of the natural world.

A monk leads a simple life. He studies his books late into the evening and searches for truth in their pages. His cat, Pangur, leads a simple life, too, chasing prey in the darkness. As night turns to dawn, Pangur leads his companion to the truth he has been seeking.

The White Cat and the Monk is a retelling of the classic Old Irish poem “Pangur Bán.” With Jo Ellen Bogart’s simple and elegant narration and Sydney Smith’s classically inspired images, this contemplative story pays tribute to the wisdom of animals and the wonders of the natural world.

Published By Groundwood Books Ltd — Mar 1, 2016
Specifications 36 pages | 8 in x 10.5 in
Written By

JO ELLEN BOGART was born in Houston, Texas, and received degrees in elementary education and psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. She has written many children's books, including The White Cat and the Monk, illustrated by Sydney Smith, a Governor General's Award finalist and a USBBY Outstanding International Book. Her picture book Jeremiah Learns to Read, illustrated by Laura Fernandez and Rick Jacobson won the Ruth Schwartz Children's Book Award, and Gifts, illustrated by Barbara Reid, won the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator's Award and was selected for IBBY's Honour List. Jo Ellen lives in Guelph, Ontario.

Illustrated by

SYDNEY SMITH was born in rural Nova Scotia and has been drawing from an early age. Since graduating from NSCAD University, he has illustrated numerous children’s books, including the highly acclaimed wordless picture book Sidewalk Flowers, conceived by Jon Arno Lawson, which won a Governor General’s Award, among many other honours, and was named a New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book. He is also the illustrator of Town Is by the Sea by Joanne Schwartz, for which he was awarded the Kate Greenaway Medal, and which won the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Prize. Small in the City is the first picture book that Sydney has written as well as illustrated. He lives and works in Toronto with his wife and son.

Audience ages 4 to 8 / grades P to 3
Reading Levels Lexile 700L
Guided Reading O

Short-listed, Governor General's Literary Award, Young People's Literature – Illustrated Books, 2016

Commended, The New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Books, 2016

Commended, Quill & Quire Reviewer Pick, 2016

Commended, CCBC Best Books for Children and Teens, starred selection, 2016

Commended, NCTE Notable Poetry List, 2017

Commended, The NP99: The Best Books of the Year, 2016

Commended, SLJ's Best of 2016, 2016

Commended, Brain Pickings' Best Children's Books of 2016, 2016

"A stunningly illustrated meditative ode to the simple joys of human-animal companionship and the pursuit of knowledge." — School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

"... a sophisticated and subtle story about the pursuit of joy—one that will easily resonate with readers young and old." — Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

"...lyrical yet easily understood...Contentment and joy are reflected in text and image " — Kirkus, STARRED REVIEW

"The watercolor-and-ink artwork has both heft and humor, especially in the joyful depictions of the manuscripts...Readers who consider the story’s underlying messages about necessities, companionship, and fulfillment will come away enriched." — Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

"If ever there was a book that could calm a child and draw her into meditative contemplation (perhaps right before bed?), The White Cat and the Monk is it." — Quill and Quire, STARRED REVIEW

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