The Cat Who Went to Heaven is a novel written in 1930 by Elizabeth Coatsworth, based on Buddhist folk tales.One day a small calico cat is adopted into the house of a painter. The painter is asked to paint a mural depicting all of Buddha's animals. According to classical Buddhist legend, the cat rejected Buddha and wasn't to be included in Buddha's animals. The painter has learned to love his cat, so includes a small calico cat in the painting. He can't imagine that a cat wouldn't be accepted into heaven. The little cat dies of happiness at the same time. A day later, by some mysterious force, the painting of Buddha now has him personally blessing the cat.Highly symbolic in nature, this book is also liked for portaying Buddhism and Buddhist culture in an accessible and unbiased way.
Tropes used by the book:
- Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence
- Bittersweet Ending
- Cats Are Mean: Averted.
- Good Fortune prays to the Buddha with the painter, doesn't overeat so the others can eat as well, and always seems to praise each finished animal in the painting.
- Cute Kitten
- Death by Newbery Medal
- Foregone Conclusion: The title.
- Kindly Housekeeper: The painter's housekeeper always morally supports him, and was the one who brought Good Fortune home.
- Meaningful Name: Good Fortune.
- Starving Artist: The painter hopes his commissioned painting of the Buddha and the animals for the emperor will make his name known and result in more potential work.