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Grade 1-4-Jane, the youngest of the Catwings felines, hungers for adventure. Life on the farm is just too boring, so she takes flight, ignoring her siblings' warnings that the world is dangerous. Jane enjoys her journey though she finds life away from home less than hospitable. One day she flies through a window into the apartment of a man who feeds her. But, as kind as he is to her, he also sees an opportunity to profit from her unique anatomy. He names her Miss Mystery and soon Jane is a television star-trapped indoors, surrounded by cameras and strangers. Unhappy, she eventually escapes and searches for her mother, who lives in the city. Once found, she and her mother live with a kind old woman who understands Jane's need for a home as well as her freedom. Le Guin's simple text creates a gentle picture of the animal and her world. Schindler's charming, pen-and-ink drawings, filled with colored washes, complement the story, making the marvelous winged cats perfectly believable. Beginning readers and young fantasy lovers will enjoy this satisfying, imaginative tale.
Anne Connor, Los Angeles Public Library
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Feeling the need to stretch her wings, young Jane leaves her feline Overlook Farm family to fly back to the city where she was born. There she discovers the truth of her sister Thelma's warning that ``being different is difficult and sometimes very dangerous,'' when a man named Poppa treats her like royalty, but traps her by closing the window. As in the three previous Catwings books (Wonderful Alexander and the Catwings, 1994, etc.), Le Guin's winged creatures are more cat than bird in behavior and outlook: Jane's sinuous grace comes through clearly in Schindler's small, precise paintings. Patiently awaiting her chance, Jane at last slips out an open door, to settle down comfortably with her doting mother, in the apartment of gray-haired Sarah, a different sort of human who, instead of closing the window, opens it wider. Wanderlust, leaving home, the meaning of freedomthese are big themes for such a small book, but the author handles them with the ease of long practice, and the illustrations are just the right mix of the exotic and the familiar. (Fiction. 7-10) -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.