Ann M. Martin Leo The Magnificat

ISBN 13: 9780439136471

Leo The Magnificat

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9780439136471: Leo The Magnificat

One Sunday, a cat wanders into a church garden. The children name him Leo the Magnificat, and for many happy years he makes the church his home. When the time comes to say good-bye, everyone gathers to remember their magnificent friend.

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From Publishers Weekly:

A charmer like its feline hero, this book is based on the life of an actual cat who wandered into the yard of a Louisville, Ky., church one Sunday and stayed for 12 years. A pro at age-appropriate writing, Martin (the Baby-sitters Club series; Rachel Parker, Kindergarten Show-off) uses brief, snappy sentences in both descriptive prose and dialogue, also lacing her text with deftly positioned parenthetical asides. As she describes his adventures, readers will easily understand why Leo (who "belonged to nobody, and he belonged to everybody") earns the affections of virtually the entire congregation as well as local shopkeepers and homeless folk. The narrative draws to a sad but truthful close as the aged, ailing cat is given a shot "that will help him die peacefully" and is later buried in the church garden. Like the author, Caldecott Medalist McCully (Mirette on the High Wire) skillfully avoids the sentimental and cutesy. Her polished, softly focused art depicts the congenial fellow in believably endearing poses: sitting in a pew, singing along with the other churchgoers; curled up on his favorite bed, which is the sheep costume from the Christmas pageant. An ailur-ing choice for cat lovers of any age. Ages 5-8.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal:

Kindergarten-Grade 3-When a fluffy black-and-white cat wanders into a churchyard one morning, he doesn't seem to be a stray-he's wearing a flea collar, and he's so well fed that at first the children think he's an expectant mother. But he settles in and makes the church his home. This attractive and appealing picture book is the story of his life and eventual death. Martin has a knack for knowing how youngsters think and express themselves: "The rest of Leo's best friends were every single one of the children who came to the church." And the style (short sentences, repetitive phrasing, and sentence fragments) will not overwhelm early readers. The paintings are as magnificent as Leo himself. McCully's impressionistic style seems to grow more relaxed and graceful with every new book. She is especially adept at conveying emotion, an important part of the sentimental story. This book is also an effective, nondidactic depiction of a warm and caring church community, and shows how special the "ordinary" is. A gentle look at life, death, and relationships.
Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Ann M. Martin, Emily Arnold Mccully (Illustrator)
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