Cover image for A traveling cat
A traveling cat
Lyon, George Ella, 1949-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Orchard Books, [1998]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 29 cm
When discovered on the playground in front of the drive-in movie screen, Boulevard, a stray cat, stays in her new home for a short while before taking to the road.
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Format :


Call Number
Material Type
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PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Bouvie was a traveling cat. She came to Ruth unexpectedly and quickly made a home for herself, etching a warm, cozy place into their lives. But the road was Bouvie's true home, she was a free spirit. And sometime later, when the spring floods came, Bouvie took to the road once more, leaving behind a family that missed her, but was thankful for the love and joy she brought them, if only for a while.

Author Notes

George Ella Lyon was born on April 25, 1949, in Harlan, Kentucky. She is an author who has published in many genre, including picture books, poetry, juvenile novels and articles. Her books often take place in Appalachia. She earned her B.A. at Centre College in Kentucky in 1971, her M.A. at the University of Arkansas in 1972 and her PhD at Indiana University - Bloomington in 1978.

She first published in 1983, a poetry collection called Mountain. Aside from publishing, she also taught writing at a number of colleges, including the University of Kentucky, Centre College, Transylvania University, and Radford University. She has also acted as an executive committee member for the Women Writers Conference. She has also taught writing through workshops, conferences, and author visits.

Her titles include Father Time and the Day Boxes, Sonny's House of Spies, Holding on to Zoe, All the Water in the World, With a Hammer for My Heart, and Where I'm From: Where Poems Come From. In 2014 her title Voices from the March on Washington made the Hot Civil Rights Titles List.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 4^-6. A little girl tells of finding a cat at the drive-in theater and taking it home. Bouvie the cat makes herself at home, gives birth to five kittens, raises them for a few months, then heads for the hills in flood time and never comes back. The child misses Bouvie and looks for her, but she recognizes that Bouvie was always "a traveling cat," and she keeps one of the kittens. Written with simplicity and dignity, this story conveys both the child's emotions and the cat's independence without the fuss and gush so often associated with pet stories. The full-color pastel artwork uses overlaid colors and shadowing to create a series of varied and effective double-page spreads. Like the writing, the softly delineated illustrations portray emotions with restraint. A quiet picture book with a rural American setting. --Carolyn Phelan

Publisher's Weekly Review

Lyon's (A Sign) gracefully folksy prose is matched with Johnson's (The Cow Who Wouldn't Come Down) nostalgic depictions to somber effect in this touching tale of a stray cat who moves in and out of a small-town family's life. "Boulevard was a traveling cat. We named her after the road," begins the narrator, the girl who finds the cat at the drive-in movie. The mostly double-page pencil drawings are shaded to look dusty and a little faded, reinforcing the down-home, period setting. Johnson provides some deeply brooding illustrations. For example, when spring floods prompt the local animals, including Boulevard, to flee to "high ground somewhere in the hills," a drawing of a spindly bridge over swollen water reveals the grief-stricken narrator standing alone near a cluster of worried neighbors: "Only [the Macs' dog] came back." The girl has one of Boulevard's kittens to console her, and the work ends on a poignant, bravely upbeat tone: Mom ventures that Boulevard might have found another family, and "If she did, I'd like to tell them, `Don't expect to keep her. She's a traveling cat.'" The projection of sympathy may console readers whose own pets have also turned out to be the traveling type. Ages 4-7. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 2-Not the typical cat story in which a stray appears, adopts a family, and contentment follows, this realistic vignette has moments of both tenderness and sadness. "Boulevard was a traveling cat. We named her after the road." When the feline follows Ruth from the concession stand at the drive-in movie, the family welcomes her into their home. In the fall, she has a litter of five kittens and stays through the winter. Come spring and flood time she retreats, like the other animals, and when she doesn't return they know she has taken to the road again. The colored-pencil illustrations are lifelike but not greeting-card cute. Their dappled texture and the earthiness of the palette create the right feeling for this unsentimental story. The time period is not identified, but visual clues of automobiles and clothing styles as well as the drive-in movie setting indicate the 1950s. The story reads like a personal remembrance, typical of Lyon. The message is subtle and the telling of a shared time remembered fondly is poignant.-Julie Cummins, New York Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.