The cat and the quilt

“Tabby drags her patchwork quilt up to the gate. She will not let it go.” One of Nicola Bayley’s illustrations for The Patchwork Cat

Nicola Bayley & William Mayne
The Patchwork Cat
Puffin Books 1984 (1981)

This picture book is both a delightful and a painful work to review. First the delight.

The text of The Patchwork Cat strikes a wonderful balance between using simple repetitious wording suitable for reading aloud to the preliterate child and pure prose poetry. Tabby the cat sleeps on a quilt. It is patchwork, like herself. She loves it. It’s the relationship she has with the quilt and with the milkman that form the focus of the narrative. “Oh milkman, milkman,” she says, “you can come and live at my house any time.” All is going well until the moment when she cannot find the patchwork quilt, her matching patchwork quilt.

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