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The Snow Cat


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About the Author

Dayal Kaur Khalsa both wrote and illustrated picture books that celebrate the joys in life- the love between grandparents and grandchildren, the togetherness of a family holiday, the ingenuity of a girl who wants a dog, the thrill of discovering a new and delicious food. Her books have won numerous awards, including being chosen twice for the New York Times Best Illustrated Books of the Year and twice as a finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award. Dayal Kaur Khalsa died in 1989.


This early work of Khalsa's, posthumously published, resonates with the heartfelt emotion of her other titles ( I Want a Dog ; Tales of a Gambling Grandmastet no comma/rl et al.). In the middle of a bleak winter, Elsie prays that God will send her a cat for company in her small house ``alone at the edge of the woods.'' God responds by delivering a feline made of snow, ``almost as big as a cow.'' Although God warns her not to let the cat in the house, Elsie's strong desire for friendship leads her to break the rules, with obvious and disastrous results. This simple premise develops into a more emotionally complicated tale of desire, loss, grief and recovery. Though some may object to the text's portrayal of God as a character, many readers will identify with Elsie's longing for a friend. Khalsa's blocky, nondescript paintings feature faceless humans and a strong, clear palette in contrast to snow-blanketed backgrounds. The illustrations are significantly different in style from her later detail-filled, visually more elaborate books. Ages 3-7. (Oct.)

"A refreshing, original picture book."

"Khalsa creates a story of simplicity...that reverberates with meaning."
-Canadian Children's Literature

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