Posts tagged ‘cats’

RUBY RUNS AMOK

Ruby’s Escape

Written by Richard Parise

Interesting short chapter book centered on a pet white rat who seizes the opportunity of an open cage door to escape and see the world. After Heather leaves for school one day, Ruby, her pet rat, discovers the cage door ajar. Now Ruby has never been outside, but she is a determined, talented, and resourceful rat.

After deciding to make her move, Ruby avails herself of the cat’s food and gnaws a hole through the screen door to escape into the back yard. There she encounters Crafty, a fellow rat, and Digger, a gopher. Ruby almost drowns in a swimming pool, gets trapped in a dumpster, and meets a group of mice living in the garage. When Heather arrives home and discovers that Ruby is missing, she and her cousins search far and wide. Does Ruby want to return to her cage? Will her hiding place be discovered?

While this book is short, it is fun and humorous. Ruby recites some clever poetry and can turn a clever phrase. Beginning readers will love the quirky plot and clever animals. Recommended especially for readers in the six to nine age range.

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CAT CITY CAPER

The Three Pirate City Cats

Written and illustrated by John E. Dorey

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Cute picture book for students in the primary grades. I like the author’s layout using speech bubbles for the text and animation type illustrations for the animal characters. Dorey introduces his readers to three abandoned cat siblings, Grace, Sam and Charlie. Left to fend for themselves they observe a human watching a TV show about pirates. The siblings are frightened by a dog, who turns out to be a friend. He leads them to a storage locker that will provide them with the props they need to create their own pirate adventure.

This forty two page book has visual and story-line appeal for early readers. My only criticism of the book is that it does not provide a conclusion, but rather invites the reader to create their own story. While I certainly do not object to an interactive story, some readers may be disappointed that there is no definite denouement to the plot. That is my reason for not giving the book a five star rating.

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LIFE LESSONS

Kids Book: Judge Monkey and other Stories (Illustrated Moral Stories for Children)

Written by D.R. Tara

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Five stories from varied cultures which illustrate moral codes of behavior. In the first story, Judge Monkey is asked by two hungry cats to settle a dispute. Coming upon a piece of bread, they want to know how they can possibly divide it equally. The clever monkey offers to be an impartial judge but tricks both of them. Our two hungry cats learn the moral the cooperation between friends is better than fighting. The second tale about a tiger, farmer and jackal is much longer than the first. The characters learn that despite appearances one must never give up because a clever person can get out of the most difficult situations. Two other tales center on a money lender and a farmer and a foolish student. My favorite story is the one about the King Cobra snake and the ants. The cobra is puzzled when the ants appear unafraid of him. Working together the ants sting his scales, proving that a bully can be overcome when those who are oppressed unite against the bully.

Each story is previewed with a large color illustration depicting the main characters in the tale. These assist a young reader in interpreting the moral. While the tales are targeted for ages nine through twelve, I believe the length of the book is more appropriate for readers in the five through eight age group. Suggested use is a read aloud followed by discussion or a bedtime story.

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TAKEN FOR GRANTED?

Easter is Cancelled

Written and Illustrated by Sally Huss

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Sally Huss never seems to run out of ideas to inspire our youngest readers to think about what is really important. Eastertime is coming up soon, but it seems this year will be very different. While the other animals are already working hard, the star of the show is not! The pigs have been gathering grass, the dogs are mixing chocolate, the chickens are laying eggs, and the cats are dyeing the eggs. To their dismay, they find the Easter Bunny relaxing in a hammock, with a sign nearby that says he is cancelling Easter this year. Why? No one ever thanks him. The wise old owl comes to the rescue by giving the animals his advice. He suggests that the animals find a child to make the Easter Bunny feel more important. What is that message and will the animals succeed in finding the right child to give him that message? Exactly what does the Easter Bunny need to hear to change his mind and rescue Easter for all?

Like most of this series, the book is targeted for children ages two through eight. This one is probably more geared to preschoolers. Bright, happy illustrations and a simple message will warm the hearts of young readers and the parents or teachers who are reading it aloud.

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HITTING THE LOTTERY

Catnapped

Written by Teena Raffa-Mulligan

Illustrated by Daniel Weatheritt
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Charming early chapter mystery book of less than fifty pages that is perfect for the beginning reader. Jenna bemoans the fact that her Nanna has moved from a bustling Australian city to a quiet house on Wattle Drive. Well, actually not that quiet, Nanna has adopted several pets: Oscar a large orange cat, Goliath, a large Great Dane, Cleo, a black and white cat, Albert, a python snake, and Polly, a chatterbox parrot, who enjoys watching police shows. One night while watching TV, Nanna screams with joy when she finds out that she has just won the lottery. Nanna quickly decides that after setting some money aside for Jenna’s education and a trip to Disneyland; she will use the rest to take her friend Alice to the Sydney Opera House, but give the bulk of the money to build a special home for cats that nobody wants.

Cass Snatchit and her lazy teenage brother Jack read of Nanna’s good fortune in the newspaper. They live in a run-down trailer and quickly decide that they will kidnap Nanna’s cat and demand a large sum of money for ransom. The author details their plans to spy on her and break into her house. Will they succeed in their plan to swindle Nanna and foil her generous plan for the lotto winnings?

The six chapters are short and the text is easy to read and conversational. Characters are fun, and the black and white pencil illustrations are charming. I do think the illustrations might have been more effective if they were larger and in color. This book has lots of elements a child age six to nine will enjoy: animals, the good guys and the bad guys, and a touch of humor. Recommended as an independent reader or read aloud at home, in the classroom or for siblings to share with one another.

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OPPOSITES ATTRACT

The Rescue Team

Written by Billi Tiner

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The author of this heartwarming tale told from the point of view of a dog and a cat is a veterinarian who understandably has a great kinship with animals. Targeted for children in the eight to twelve year age range, the chapter book has no sex, violence or profanity which makes it a nice choice for a family read aloud. This book will take you on a series of adventures that will put you in their shoes.

The adventure begins when Ellie, who is a one year old Border Collie, suddenly finds herself in an animal shelter when her owners become pregnant. After what seems like an eternity, a kind woman named Anne adopts her. Ellie soon discovers that her new owner loves animals; Ellie begins to bring animals in trouble home. Soon she is sharing her home with Toby, a six-month old kitten who becomes her best friend. Together they will form an improbable but talented rescue team.

When Anne is hurt in an automobile accident, she meets a fireman named Brent and their lives become even more involved in animal and human rescue. They will all face adventures and disasters that hit close to home. The plot is simple and predictable, but the author has a real knack for using first person to get the reader in the head of the animal characters. Text level of difficulty is suitable for middle grade independent readers; younger children will enjoy listening to the story read aloud. Nice book to curl up with on a rainy weekend afternoon.

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ALIEN CATS?

Why Kimba Saved the World (Cats in the Mirror) Book 1

Written by Meg Dendler

Kimba,pic

First in a series of middle grade chapter books featuring a family which includes four cats and a dog along with their human family. In this book, Kimba, a heterochromatic cat, is recruited by an agency of sci-fi cats to restore cats to their rightful place as rulers of the universe.

Kimba is distinct not only due to the fact that she has one green and one blue eye, but also because she combines the curiosity of a cat with the sensitivity of a human. Kimba and her sister Hiro’s lives change one day when Kimba sees a mysterious image in the bathroom mirror. Turns out a race of cats led by its leader Regalus are plotting a world-wide takeover and Kimba has been selected to be one of their spies. But Kimba has never even been outside the house, and Hiro has even less interest in changing her comfortable existence. How can they possibly succeed?

The story line starts out slowly, then builds up as Kimba eventually must choose between her family and her cat lineage. Dendler knows the character and personality of felines well; she does a superb job of getting into Kimba’s head and allowing the reader to identify with her. Middle grade readers who love animals will like this book; it paints a realistic picture with enough sci-fi details to make the story convincing. In the end, Kimba, like many of her young readers in their everyday lives, is forced to make a difficult decision. Where does her loyalty lie?

Recommended as an independent read for students age nine through twelve or as a read aloud by a librarian or classroom teacher. Available in kindle and paperback. The second and third books in the series have recently been released.

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