Dream-of-Jade

dream of jade

Dream-of-Jade
The Emperor’s Cat

Lloyd Alexander
Illustrated by D. Brent Burkett
Cricket Books, an imprint of Carus Publishing Company, 2005

From the dust jacket: “No one, not even the most exalted mandarin, was permitted to gaze directly upon the face of the great Kwan-Yu, Celestial Emperor of China (and embodiment of the Nine Heavenly Virtues.) But, Dream-of-Jade, a green-eyed cat, as curious as she was beautiful, decided that she wanted to do just that. she slipped into the empty Throne Room and sat upon the Imperial throne herself. When Kwan-Yu arrived, she did not give up her seat but pointed out the dangerous state of the Emperors ceiling right above his throne.

“Thus began the great friendship between an Emperor and a little white cat with green eyes, who not only saved the Emperor’s life at their first meeting, but who knew how to cure his ailments, made him laugh, and found ways to entertain him. Dream-of-Jade’s greatest wish was to make Kwan-Yu the best emperor who had ever ruled the Celestial empire.”

When we first got this book at the library, Simon thought it was going to be another picture book for him to review; but then once he got a look at it, he handed it over to me since it is more in my realm of things. The book is a story book for older kittens with pictures included.

The oil paintings/illustrations are luminous with glowing detail. They are lush and beautiful, masterpieces as far as I’m concerned.

The stories of Dream-of-Jade and the Emperor are how the cat looks and then cures emperor; makes the emperor laugh; accepts a gift from the emperor; and finally, how Dream-of-Jade makes the laws of the empire. They reminded me a bit of Aesop’s Fables, where the main focus of the story is on learning a lesson or moral. The ancient Chinese culture is either well-researched or well-imagined, however I don’t know that much – if anything at all – of ancient Chinese culture, so am unable to know if the author ‘got it right’. Mom googled Emperor Kwan-Yu for me but found him only in this book.

I enjoyed the book but the artwork more. By the by, Dream-of-Jade got her name from the jade-like color of her eyes.

Rating: 4 out of 5 paws because the stories are well told and enjoyable but the illustrations are quite beautiful and outshine the words.

Reviewer:

peggysue-loc

PeggySue

 

dream of jade b

The Hotel Cat

the hotel cat

 

The Hotel Cat
A Jenny’s Cat Club Book

Esther Averill
The New York Review Children’s Collection, 1969

From the back of the book: “On a cold winter night the heat goes off in Jenny Linksy’s house and Captain Tinker tells Jenny and her brothers Checkers and Edwards that they will all be spending the night at the Royal Hotel. As it turns out, this is no ordinary cold snap: this is the Big Freeze. Boilers all over the city are breaking down and people and pets are crowding into the hotel. In the midst of the confusion, Jenny is delighted to encounter her old friends from the Cat Club.

“Tom, the hotel cat, used to be a stray, living a tough life on the streets. One day he showed up at the Royal, and soon he was earning his keep as a mouser. But what’s Tom to do when so many new cats suddenly show up on his territory? Can he trust them? His friend Mrs. Wilkins has lived at the hotel for a long time and knows how to talk to cats. She persuades Tom to give the visitors a warm welcome. Which is how Tom and Jenny and the members of the Cat Club all come together to put on the unforgettable gala Stardust Winter Ball!”

So, with this Jenny’s Cat Club book we meet 2 new cats – one who, as it turns out, is from a previous book that we haven’t read – Jenny Goes to Sea. Our library doesn’t have it so it may take a while for us to find a copy to enjoy. But, nonetheless, the new/old character is Jack Tar, a ship’s cat that spends his shore leave with Captain Tinker and kitties. But the new cat, and the main one of this book, is Tom, former stray, now The Royal hotel cat. And what a character he is, too. He is at turns an old softie and a bit of a bully in the beginning but he learns to be tolerant of other cats and makes some forever friends.

Another charming addition to the Jenny’s Cat Club series; there are lessons in tolerance and acceptance, and in working together for the common good. I especially liked the addition of 2 humans to the story – these humans are special because they can converse with the cats easily and give them room to be cats. We wish all humans could do that!!! As with the other books, the print is a medium size so it’s good for somewhat experienced readers and older kittens may want to practice reading by sharing it with their younger siblings. The line drawings are sweet as well, although I did miss seeing Jenny’s scarf not printed in red! We’ve enjoyed the whole series and look forward to reading the other two somewhere down the line!

Rating 4 paws out of 5 – for storytelling at its finest and dancing cats!!

Reviewer:

peggysue-loc

PeggySue

 

The Cat Book

the cat book

The Cat Book

Silvia Borando
Candlewick Press, 2017
minibombo, 2013

From the back of the book: “Say hello to your new cat. You can tickle his chin and hear him purr. But wait – was that a raindrop? Don’t let him get wet!”

This little picture book is for the earliest of readers and even tiny kittens. The pictures are very simple and full of bright colors; the text is super large with short sentences and words. The story line asks for the reader (or listener) to be involved by naming and petting the large orange cat; by squashing the cat’s fleas; trying to keep the cat from getting wet and eating a bird. This is one of those books that may require you to purchase for reading over and over and over and over again. But see if your library has it first!

 

Rating 4 of 5 paws because of the sweet, yet simple story and the fun interaction between reader/listener and book. Even I scratched the cat under the chin!!

Reviewer:

simon-loc

Simon

 

 

The Improbable Cat

the improbable cat

The Improbable Cat

Allen Ahlberg
Illustrated by Peter Bailey
Delacorte Press, 2004

From the dust jacket, “It all begins when David’s family takes in a stray kitten. At least, that’s what the creature appears to be. But David and his faithful dog, Billy, immediately sense something terribly amiss. Then indeed “something crazy—impossible—horrific” happens….”

The story is told from David’s viewpoint – as a witness to a very, very strange occurrence. His family does indeed take in a small grey kitten, but from then on, the kitten – if you could call it a kitten – transforms into something weirdly cat/human-like and hypnotizes David’s family into serving it day and night. Only David and his dog, Billy, are unaffected. Somehow David has to rescue his family – and get rid of the “cat”.

This is a great little mystery – what could the creature be? What is it doing to David’s family? And why? All these questions – and more – popped up in my mind as I read this book. The copy I read is small (only 4.5 x 6.5 inches) and 92 pages long, but it packs a punch. Its classified for youth but, really, adults would enjoy it as well. This is the kind of story you read (or tell) around a campfire at night or some other spooky location. The ending is a little less than satisfactory – but that’s because David still has questions about what happened. If you like ghost stories and unanswered mysteries, this is the book for you!!!

Rating 4 out of 5 paws for being creepy, spooky and fun all at the same time.

Reviewer:

peggysue-loc

PeggySue

the improbable cat a

This is how the story begins.

 

the improbable cat b

This is how it almost ends!!!

More Jenny Linsky and the Cat Club Adventures

2 More Adventures of Jenny:

jenny's moonlight adventure

Jenny’s Moonlight Adventure
A Jenny’s Cat Club Book

Esther Averill
The New York Review Children’s Collection, 1973, 1949

From the back of the book, “Hallowe’en, a special night for black cats everywhere, but especially for Jenny, the shy little black cat in a red scarf from Greenwich Village!

“At nine o’clock the entire Cat Club will convene for an even that each and every one of the cats, from Romulus and Remus, to wise old Solomon, has been eagerly awaiting: the beautiful Persian, Madame Butterfly, will be performing a concert for them on her crystal flute. Except Madame Butterfly has hurt herself and – not only that – she has lost her flute! Where can it be, and when they find it, how can they get it back to Madame Butterfly so that she can play? Hallowe’en is Jenny’s night, and it’s Jenny who comes up with a plan, a very adventurous one, too. But will she pull it off?”

Of course, Jenny pulls it off! It wouldn’t be a Jenny Linsky story if she didn’t! She faces her paralyzing fear of dogs by outsmarting them, helping her friends in the process.

*********************************************************

 

the school for cats

The School for Cats
A Jenny’s Cat Club Book

Esther Averill
The New York Review Children’s Collection, 1973, 1947

From the back of the book: “Jenny Linsky, the shy little black cat of Greenwich Village, has never been to school. Until, that is, the day her master, Captain Tinker, decides it’s time for her to study cat lore in the country. The School for Cats seems like a scary place at first, full of strangers who know how to do all sorts of clever things that Jenny doesn’t understand. Worse still, Pickles, the Fire Cat, famous for chasing all the littler cats around with his fire truck, is a student there! He frightens Jenny so much that one day she runs away.

“But she doesn’t stay away for long. After an adventure in the forest that helps her feel braver, Jenny realizes she’s ready to face school and Pickle’s teasing. Which is how Jenny learns a lesson in courage and Pickles in consideration, and the two become friends for life.”

Wow! I wish I could go to school like Jenny! The school is like sleep-away camp but much more fun! Even though Jenny ran away from Pickles at first, she learns to stand up to him; this is the same Pickles that was in the first book I reviewed, Jenny and the Cat Club.

The copies I read are printed large enough for early readers and the black and white pictures are adorable with accents of red, yellow and orange. Please check out these little books for yourself or your kittens!!

 

Rating for both books: 4 out of 5 paws because I love this series for its gentleness and innocence – perfect for young kittens who are not yet jaded by the insanity of the world.

Reviewer:

peggysue-loc

PeggySue