Help! I’ve fallen prey to a sappy pet story! Laura reads “Dewey”

I’ve been eyeballing this book with the adorable orange kitty on the cover for a very long time. Finally I couldn’t take it anymore, and I needed something new to read. This is a dramatic re-enactment of what I look like about 10 pages in:

For those who have no idea what I’m talking about:

Dewey was a library cat, which is exactly what it sounds like. Cat Channel dot com gives a brief history of cats living in libraries; a tradition which seems to date back all the way to Ancient Egypt:

Throughout the ages, library cats have upheld literary works, inspired reading and literacy programs, boosted librarian morale and befriended patrons. Experts trace the origins of library cats to ancient times, when Herodotus reported the existence of libraries in Egyptian temples. While many felines prowled the fields of early Egypt protecting crops, others underwent special training to stop rodents and serpents from infesting houses and temples, where preserved papyrus has since been unearthed.

So I found that background pretty interesting. But, back to Dewey. His story begins on a cold morning in January. The librarians of Spencer Public Library have just begun their day when they hear a strange noise coming from the after hours drop box. It sounds like an animal. Fearing some wild creature, Vicki Myron peeks cautiously into the box and is startled by what she finds there. Huddled in a corner, frozen and scared, is a tiny kitten. After a warm bath in the office sink, Dewey feels a little better and begins purring and rubbing his face on anyone who will let him. His paws remain injured from frost-bite for his first week or so at the library, but that doesn’t stop him from exploring his surroundings and getting to know any and everyone he can. The staff and patrons immediately fall in love with him and it is decided he will stay. They name him Dewey Readmore Books after the Dewey Decimal System. From young to old, Dewey is loved by and inspires everyone he meets. Yes, it’s a mushy pet story book… and it’s wonderful. Go read it!

There is also a children’s picture book version, Dewey: There’s a Cat in the Library!

Ugh, now I want a cat for our library SO BAD.

PS: I found this Google Map of all the library cats around the world. Apparently a good number of libraries still have them! Pretty cool!

Book Review: Erin Hunter’s “Warriors” Series, and Why EVERYONE Should Read Kids’ Fiction.

Having a bad day? Feeling bogged down in life? GO READ A KIDS’ BOOK.

Seriously. I am such a proponent of adults reading more children’s literature. Be it a storybook or a beginning chapter book… Kids’ fiction is to be enjoyed by all. There is no age limit on storytime.

Case in point. One of my absolute favorite children’s book series: Warriors.

So, right off… It’s about CATS. And who doesn’t like stories with personified animals? I mean, come on. Secondly, it’s a coming of age story about a young boy (who just happens to be a cat) searching for his own identity and place in the world. That’s appealing to everyone, not just kids!

The first book, Into the Wild, serves as an introduction to the world and a recurring conflict for our main character that will span the course of the first series.

Our MC is a young cat named Rusty who lives at Twolegplace with his human owners. Rusty lives a happy and comfortable life as a house cat, but spends his afternoons at the edge of his garden, peering off into the wild woods beyond and wondering what adventures might await him there. One day, he decides to just go for it, and slips over his fence and into the woods. In the forest, Rusty encounters a wild cat who attacks him! But despite this confrontational first meeting, the wild cat (whom we learn is named Graypaw) is impressed with Rusty’s courage and fighting ability. He tells Rusty strange and wonderful things about the cats of the forest; there are four Clans – Windclan, Shadowclan, Riverclan, and Graypaw’s own Clan, Thunderclan. The forest cats live by an ancient code of honor and respect to their ancestors in Starclan who guide and watch over the forest from above. Rusty is fascinated by all this, and dreams of becoming a forest cat. But does Rusty have what it takes to run with the wild cat Clans? Or will his soft and comfortable kittypet upbringing be too much for him to overcome?

The Warriors series is written by 4 ladies who collectively write under the name Erin Hunter. They are Victoria Holmes, Kate Cary, Cherith Baldry, and Tui Sutherland. Together they have written over 40 Warriors books spanning the course of 4 separate series, with an additional manga form series, and several stand alone books as well. I think it is safe to say the series is doing well, and is one of the most popular series for young readers right now.

One thing that I love most about Warriors is the sort of… Catspeak words our authors have come up with for expressing certain concepts from a cat’s point of view. Words like kittypet, Twoleg, Thunderpath. They are words for things that are either concepts in the human world that would seem alien to a cat and must therefore be reinvented, or words for concepts that fall outside the realm of human understanding. For example, a kittypet is a housecat. It’s generally considered a derogatory word among Clan cats because it implies weakness. To humans, there’s no need to make distinction between wild cats and housecats; they’re all just cats, right? Not so, from a cat’s point of view! Anyway, I like that. The use of these made-up words does a lot to put the reader in the frame of mind of the characters they are reading about.

Another thing I love about this series is that it seems to be directed towards and appeal to children of all genders. I have such a problem with anything for kids that is catered to “just girls” or “just for boys” whether it be toys, or books, or clothes, or whatever. So the fact that this series has a little something for everyone is good. It’s got adventure and heroics, but also character driven story, and even a little romance. Kids appropriate romance, of course, but you get the idea.

Warriors is a great and fun series for anyone who likes a little adventure and fantasy and characters overcoming insurmountable odds. Also kitties! ❤

The ladies behind Erin Hunter also write another series about bears called Seekers, and will be debuting their brand new series about dogs living in a post-apocalyptic world called Survivors later this summer!

Anyway. Go read a kids book! You’ll be glad you did!

Until next time,

Laura ❤