Monday, June 6, 2016

Cynthia Rylant



Cynthia Rylant was born June 6, 1954. She is an American author and librarian who has written more than 100 children's books including works of fiction (picture books, short stories and novels), nonfiction, and poetry. Several of her books have won awards, including her novel "Missing May" which won the 1993 Newberry Medal and "A Fine White Dust" which was a 1987 Newberry Honor book. Two of her books are Caldecott Honor Books "The Relatives Came" and "When I Was Young in the Mountains". 
Many of Rylant's books are about her childhood in Appalachia, her pets, the joys and hardships of family life, and the feelings of loners. Several of her books are written in series.

Rylant has always loved cats and dogs and many of her dear pets of days gone by appear in her books. Martha Jane is in "The Bookshop Dog". Gracie Rose is in "The Great Gracie Chase". Edward Velvetpaws and Tomato are in " Cat Heaven".

Rylant includes her favorite things to do in her books. Mr. Putter makes tea and takes naps in the "Mr. Putter and Tabby books". Lila and Whistler explore the seashore in the "Lighthouse Family" books. Annie dresses fancy in the" Annie and Snowball" books. Murray watches "Jeopardy" in "Gooseberry Park" . (Murray is a bat but he likes TV). Simple things make good stories.

Cynthia Rylant is a master at the craft of writing. Her prose has very specific words that can stir a lot of emotion. One of my all time favorites is "The Relatives Came." 

I really enjoyed this story about a large family who live in two different places. They come to visit each other once a year. The author starts out the book describing one family (from Virginia) packing up their things and piling into a car together to drive all day and night to see the other part of their family. Once they arrive they are so ecstatic to see each other that they can't stop hugging or talking with each other. It talks about how they make room to house both families. The author describes the different things the families help each other with and how they help enhance each others lives. It's a story that one can easily relate to. Her prose is like simple poetry both lyrical and humorous.
"Dog Heaven" was given to me by my daughter when our first dog Allanah died. It is a sweet story for someone who has lost a dog or is a devoted pet lover.
From expansive fields where dogs can run and run to delicious biscuits no dog can resist, Rylant paints a warm and affectionate picture of the ideal place God would, of course, create for man's best friend. It was the first picture book illustrated by the author.

"Cat Heaven" is written in a gentle playful rhyme, Cynthia Rylant explores all the ways beloved cats would enjoy "Cat Heaven", as she did for dogs in the bestselling companion book, "Dog Heaven". Her shining artwork illustrates a world of peace for cats in Heaven, where no tree is too tall for exploring, where there is no lack of angels' laps for sleeping.
If your child wonders where his or her kitty goes after a happy life on Earth, they can rest assured that all cats "know where the angel cats fly. They'll run past the stars and the moon and the sun . . . to curl up with God in the sky."

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