book “review”: The White Cat and the Monk


I don’t believe in “must-read” book lists — or in book reviews, per se — but I do love to offer suggestions. This book is one of many I’ve read and adored, and that (like all the others here) I’ve found to be particularly engrossing, magical, relaxing, comforting, insightful, and beautifully written. If you haven’t yet read this one but would like to add it to your to-be-read pile, you can purchase a copy at one of the links below.


I will readily admit that I often browse — and sometimes even buy from — the children’s and young-adult sections of bookstores.


It’s been quite some time since I qualified as a “young adult” reader and, no, we don’t have children. Our goal of giving books to our three-year-old niece and nephew at every gift-giving opportunity does provide a great excuse to peruse the children’s section even more often than I would on my own. But when I’m browsing the bookstore for myself, I don’t really care about a book’s intended audience.


Exquisite prose, a compelling story, memorable characters, and (if the book is illustrated) lovely images will grab hold of me every time. No matter what.


All that to say: I recently bought a gorgeous little book in the section of our local bookstore ostensibly reserved for children.


The “story” in The White Cat and the Monk is Jo Ellen Bogart’s simple yet touching retelling of a poem written by an Irish monk in the ninth century. In an author’s note at the end, she explains (and, considering how long ago the original was written, speculates) a bit more about the monk and his timeless poem. Alongside the text, Sydney Smith’s illustrations are simple yet beautifully evocative.



Woven together, the brief text and the illustrations create a marvelous, quiet meditation on our love for our pets, our love of books and learning, and the joy of focusing on a particular task.


If, like me, you adore both cats and books — and how perfectly well they go together — I suspect you’ll enjoy this book as much as I do.


Disclosure: If you follow one of my links to — and if you buy a book from my storefront on the site — I receive a small percentage of the sale, at no extra cost to you. And a percentage of the sale is also added to the pool of funds that distributes among independent brick-and-mortar bookstores. (In the website’s first year, that earnings pool already totals more than $10 million!)

Want more? Join us!

Subscribe to our occasional email letters and, as a thank-you gift, we’ll send you our exclusive guide to achieving Read. Purr. bliss: reliable relaxation & contentment in 5 easy steps.

Hello & Welcome

I’m Jennifer: reader of fiction, cat whisperer, nerdy introvert. Possessor of a vivid imagination, a massive streak of curiosity, and a love of puzzles. Firm believer in the health-and-happiness benefits of reading and quiet time, whether indoors or out. Proponent of practical mindfulness, gardening, and walks in nature. Artist, writer, and founder of the Read. Purr. Collective.