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Children's LiteratureAcross the desert and the grasslands, through the jungle and over the ocean, Calabash Cat joins with a menagerie of different animals in his quest to find the end of the world. Each of his escorts, a product of his own environment, is convinced that when his world ends, so does the entire world. Calabash Cat learns otherwise, however, when the wise eagle takes him into the sky and shows him a wider view. Told with an economy of words and a simplicity of story characteristic of a folk tale, this story set in West Africa is easy enough for young readers to understand, yet carries a powerful message that older ones will also appreciate. The illustration style is well-suited to the story, using the "calabash" style of engraving from the African country of Chad. A hint of color is provided by a rainbow that threads itself, color by color, through the story, subtly paralleling the circular journey of Calabash Cat. The text is also repeated in Arabic; a gentle reminder of the story's message that the world is a very big place. This is a wonderful read-aloud that will hold up time and again. 2003, Houghton Mifflin Company, Ages 4 to 8.