The Comical Celtic Cat
This is the only book by author and illustrator Norah Golden. The book is significant in its approach to the Book of Kells, a popular topic in books for children across a range of genres. Interest in the Book of Kells for a young audience can also be noted in George Otto Simm’s non-fictional Exploring the Book of Kells (1988). The Junior Collection at SPD holds copies of Otto Simm’s work, and also holds first editions of Golden’s book, first published in 1984. Humorous rhyme introduces the cat of the Book of Kells, while the illustrations pay homage to the detailed style of the Book of Kells. However, this book features bold, bright colours, and a simpler style. The result is a light, comic, and accessible tone, where the reader is invited to consider and explore some of the well-known features of the Book of Kells through the playful and mischievous ‘Celtic cat’ who interrupts Matt the monk’s work. Golden’s bright, bold illustrations upturn the typically presented scene of staid and solitary work on the Book of Kells. The cat’s interventions disrupt these scenes even further as he demands Matt the Monk’s attention. Eventually, the cat becomes inspiration for Matt, who was wondering what to include next in the book. The rhyme is not burdened by technical terms for the Book’s artwork, but its large and detailed illustrations of parts of the Book allow an appreciation of the original Book’s detail. The large, detailed images are accompanied by short and simple lines of prose. The lines ‘He’d done curly people’/ ‘and fish with bright scales’/ ‘and Beautiful birds with extravagant tails’ each cover one page with an accompanying illustration. Finally, Matt includes the cat in his drawings, and two separate full-page illustrations show variations of how the drawings of the cat were transformed into a capital C. The book ends with the line ‘And there in its pages/Till the end of all ages/Is the comical Celtic cat!’, while the cat’s presence continues past the final page of the book and another illustration features the cat as a capital C on the back cover of the book.
First published 1984
Place of Publication:
Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire
Date of Publication:
£6.95 on sticker
(26)p : ill. ; 28 cm.
Ireland, Folklore, Religion, Genre, Illustrator, Book of Kells, Cats, Monks
Junior Special Collection - SPD