Picks and Pans Review: Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats

updated 08/16/1982 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/16/1982 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by T.S. Eliot

Those who thought the cat-book craze had had its last meow can think again; maybe it will have nine lives, after all. Bond, who antagonized feline fanciers with his deadpan dead cats in 1981, is back with nonsense drawings showing stiff kitties as TV antennas, umbrellas, divining rods and 98 other things (Potter, $3.95). San Franciscans Rose (an animation film designer) and Kirschner (a writer-illustrator) are less cruel but not exactly kind (St. Martin's, $4.95). Their drawings show such concoctions as Rudolf Purreyev and Mikhail Baryshnicat, "a couple of Russian strays." Stokes, who lives in Cornwall, England, has a Siamese named Twiggy and a no-pedigree named Mungo; she includes paintings of them and more than a hundred other cats in her book (Thames and Hudson, $12.95). They often look as if they are in ecstasy or are drunk or both. Stokes' text mixes fanciful, coy descriptions of the paintings with tales about cats. The new edition of Eliot's book (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, $8.95, $4.95 paper) includes dark, bizarre drawings by Edward Gorey. Eliot's 15 whimsical verses celebrate some peculiar specimens: "Growltiger was a Bravo Cat, who travelled on a barge:/ In fact he was the roughest cat that ever roamed at large." They are the basis of the musical Cats, currently in London and scheduled to open in New York this fall.

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