Homer the library cat

Homer The Library Cat by R. Lindbergh

Lindbergh, Reeve. Homer The Library Cat. Illus. Anne Wilsdorf. Somerville, MA: CandlewickPress, 2011. Print.

Reeve Lindbergh’s tale of a cat who only wants some peace and quiet is a pleasant, though unremarkable, romp through some very noisy places, ending up in the quiet sanctuary of the library. The rhyme scheme is incredibly simple, making it easy for children to memorize and read along; however, the rhythm of the lines is not ideal, and aside from a general linguistic playfulness that serves him well, it cannot be said that Lindbergh has a particularly good ear for poetry.

Likewise, Wilsdorf’s watercolours are vibrant and cheerful enough, but there is nothing notable in her style to attract or draw readers in. Most of the illustrations are very busy, giving children plenty to see and do; however, at times, Homer himself fades into the background. He is never drawn with enough definition to truly distinguish him or imbue him with any life beyond the pages of the story.

Homer’s ubiquitous and varied use of onomatopoeia is sure to delight children, as well as giving parents small opportunities to perform in their reading. However, despite the faint pleasures of bright colours and noise-words, it is hard to imagine this book becoming any kind of favourite, unless perhaps of a child inordinately fond of both cats and libraries.

Just as Homer eventually proves to be a library cat, Homer The Library Cat would probably be best suited as a library book. It is a book that many would enjoy reading a few times over, though it will never be a nursery staple. Homer is not so prettily drawn nor so well-defined a character as to particularly endear himself to children, though he may prove an amusing, short-term distraction with whom no reader could find serious fault.

Recommended: 2 stars
Reviewer: Amy Paterson

Amy Paterson is a Public Services Librarian at the University of Alberta’s H. T. Coutts Education Library. She was previously the Editor of the Dalhousie Journal of Interdisciplinary Management and is very happy to be involved in the Deakin Review and the delightful world of children’s literature.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.20361/G25880