Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Cat Who Went To Heaven

This very short book written by Elizabeth Coatsworth took me a little less than an hour to carefully read. The book is set in Japan and talks of an artist struggling to sell his paintings. One day his housekeeper brings him a cat. At first the artist is very angry at the housekeeper for bringing the cat because they are considered unlucky and even evil.
A priest comes to the artists house and tells him that he is the chosen one to paint a picture of the Buddha's death which if accepted would be hung in the temple. The artist spends the next several days living the life of buddha in his mind. He paints the buddha and then all the animals that visit him at his death. Each time he paints an animal the cat comes and looks at the painting with a longing to be in it.
The artist is torn between painting the cat or leaving it out of the picture because of their bad reputation. The ending was pretty neat when the cat was finally accepted.
I liked the brief description of the life of Siddhartha and the many animals he took the form of along with the short stories of them. There are also eight songs which the housekeeper sings that are kind of cool.
This book was probably not a favorite but it wasn't bad. I think it had a deeper meaning to it than I picked up on. I think children could be taught a little about the buddha by it.

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