________________ CM . . . . Volume IV Number 16 . . . . April 10, 1998

Cover Lucy Maud and the Cavendish Cat.

Lynn Manuel. Illustrated by Janet Wilson.
Toronto, ON: Tundra Books, 1997.
32 pp., hardcover, $17.99.
ISBN 0-88776-397-9.

Subject Headings:
Montgomery, L.M. (Lucy Maud), 1874-1942-Juvenile fiction.
Cats-Juvenile fiction.
Prince Edward Island-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 2 - 5 / Ages 7 - 10.
Review by Gail Hamilton.

**** /4


Time went by like the slow meandering of a cow across Sam Wyand's field as Daffy's thoughts turned to the old well where the ferns grew all around and the darkness waited. He was certain that's where he must be, down deep inside, without anyone to lower a bucket. Maud had disappeared in a white-silk mist, leaving him all alone.

An eternity passed before he looked up and saw the eyes behind the spectacles, and quick as a wink, he was in Maud's arms.

"My lovely, gray cat!" And Maud was laughing and crying all at the same time.

This true story, compiled from the Selected Journals of L.M. Montgomery, Volumes I and II, chronicles the special relationship between Maud and her beloved gray cat, Daffy, from the time that Maud chose the cat to their move from Cavendish, PEI, to Ontario. According to the "Author's Note" at the end of the book, the words that Maud speaks in the story are, in most instances, her own thoughts as expressed in the journals.

      To Maud, Daffy is more than a pet. He is both friend and confidant. As she writes, she reads aloud to him from her manuscript; she takes him along on her photography expeditions; she finds comfort and solace in his affection when she suffers from depression. Following the death of her grandmother, Maud moves from her grandmother's home and goes to live with relatives, taking Daffy with her. Some time later, she marries and moves to another province with her new husband. Daffy is left behind, feeling lonely and abandoned, and not at all fond of his new owners. One day, he is placed in a box and sent by boat, train, and, finally, by horse-drawn buggy to his new home on a farm where he is joyfully reunited with Maud.

      Manuel tells the story with emotion. Through her wonderfully descriptive passages, she gives readers a glimpse of the time during which the events took place. Though cat lovers and Anne of Green Gables fans will particulary enjoy this book, the story stands on its own merit and will appeal to a wide audience.

      Wilson achieves a three-dimensional quality in her oil paintings through her use of rich colours, light and shadow, and her attention to detail, particularly texture. Her rendering of the cat, for example, makes readers want to reach out to stroke its fur. The close-ups of Maud, too, are especially lifelike. Small sepia-toned sketches, reminiscent of a bygone era, accompany the text on the left page, while the full-page oils appear on the right.

      Manuel's heartwarming story and Wilson's realistic paintings are a winning combination. A very enjoyable read!

Highly recommended.

Gail Hamilton is a teacher-librarian at Bird's Hill School in East St. Paul, Manitoba.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © 1998 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364