The White Cat and the Monk: A Retelling of the Poem "Pangur Bán" Book Cover

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The White Cat and the Monk: A Retelling of the Poem "Pangur Bán"

Written by:

Jo Ellen Bogart

Illustrated By:

Sydney Smith


March 30, 2016


Groundwood Books

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A Note

This book looks exceptionally wonderful.  I can't wait to read it.

Please be aware...there are some mixed messages coming from reviewers about the appropriate age for this book. One recommendation is grades 2 to 4, one reviewer says grades 1 through 5, but two others echo the publisher's recommendation of ages 4 to 7. The first two reviewers (School Library Journal and Booklist) are the ones I put the most faith in for age suitability guidance.  Therefore, I would recommend sharing this at around first grade.

Be sure to use your good judgement about your own child. Some of the themes of this book will be better understood by adults -- the joys of living a life of simplicity, for example. Also, it would seem that a mouse meets an unfortunate end at the hand (or, paw really) of the white cat.


A monk leads a simple life. He studies his books late into the evening and searches for truth in their pages. His cat, Pangur, leads a simple life, too, chasing prey in the darkness. As night turns to dawn, Pangur leads his companion to the truth he has been seeking.

The White Cat and the Monk is a retelling of the classic Old Irish poem “Pangur Bán.” With Jo Ellen Bogart’s simple and elegant narration and Sydney’s Smith’s classically inspired images, this contemplative story pays tribute to the wisdom of animals and the wonders of the natural world.

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