Bits & Pieces

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Bits & Pieces

Judy Schachner
Dial Books for Young Readers, 2013

From the dust jacket: “Tink has everything he ever wanted: delicious treats, hugs and kisses, and even a kitten to raise. The only thing missing is wild outdoor adventure. So when the opportunity arises, Tink sneaks away—and becomes an outdoor cat for one unforgettable night before his is found and returned home.

“With meltingly tender illustrations, bestselling author Judy Schachner creates a warm and poignant portrait of a beloved pet and the family who loves him to bits and pieces.”

Right off the bat, we loved this book. Of course, everything by Judy Schachner is tops in our library! Tink is modeled after her own cat whom I’m guessing she loved to bits and pieces. From start to finish it’s easy to fall in love with Tink and his antics – especially the illustration of licking the butter. Angel Piper loved butter, too! Mom kept it on the counter until she started finding tongue prints in it! My heart hurt a little when Tink was lost and almost ended up at a shelter!

Bits & Pieces is a wonderful book to have in your home to share with kittens and humans alike. It will touch your heart and is a perfect companion book to The Grannyman.

Rating: 5 paws out of 5 because it is exactly what the publishers said – “meltingly tender illustrations” and “a warm and poignant portrait of a beloved pet.” I can’t say it any better than that.





The Grannyman

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The Grannyman

Judith Byron Schachner
Dutton’s Children’s Books, 1999

From the dust jacket: “Simon was a very old cat. His family tried their best to take care of him. They kept him comfy in a baby carriage and neat at mealtime, but Simon felt useless. After such a full life, he wondered what an old cat was good for anyway.

“Just when Simon had decided it was all over for him, something soft and small came along to give him lots to do, lots to look forward to—and a brand-new name.

“In words and pictures filled with character, nuance, expression, and love, Judith Byron Schachner pays homage to one special, very old feline in a book for anyone who has lived with and loved a cat.”

My goodness – a book with my namesake!!! Like me, this Simon is old but unlike me he is blind and deaf (although at the age of 15+ years, my eyesight is rather dim and I do forget where the food is!). Also like me, Simon is loved very much and his family puts up with his messiness, bad breath and crankiness. (Toby says I have bad breath, but he must not be able to smell his own!) This is a marvelous book that will remind the reader that just because we’re old doesn’t mean we are useless!!

We’ve added this book to our wish list because we love it so much. Read this book to your kittens, or just read it yourself; if you have ever loved a cat, you won’t be disappointed—you’ll be enchanted!!

Rating 5 out of 5 paws because although it’s not laugh out-loud funny the way the author’s Skippyjon Jones books are, it is nonetheless both heartwarming and heartbreaking and full of those elusive warm, fuzzy feelings missing from so many books we read.






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.





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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!!






Owls and Pussy-cats

owls and pussycats

Owls and Pussy-Cats
Nonsense Verse

Edward Lear and Lewis Carroll
Illustrated by Nicki Palin
Peter Bedrick Books, 1993 (illustrations), mid – to late 1800s, poetry & verse

From the dust jacket, “Edward Lear and Lewis Carroll wrote some of the most famous and best-loved nonsense verse of all time. In this collection, their poems have been brought together and illustrated in superb, full-color paintings.

“Odd creatures inhabit these pages, from Lear’s Jumblies and Pelicans to ‘The Dong with a Luminous Nose’. Carroll’s poems include favorites from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass: ‘The Mock Turtle’s Song’, ‘Jabberwocky’, and ‘The Walrus and the Carpenter’,

The poems may be nonsense, but underlying them is a darker side, of logic, and romantic yearning. Nicki Palin’s pictures, with their scope and breath-taking detail, invite us to share in a new vision of these weird and wonderful worlds.”

For once my review will probably be shorter than what the publisher has to say. In a nut shell: illustrations a plus, content a BIG minus. No offense to the esteemed Edward Lear and Lewis Carroll but I really don’t like stuff that doesn’t make sense. And these verses are exactly as advertised – “Nonsense Verse.” They make no sense at all and I found now humor in any of them, with the exception of the title verse, The Owl and Pussycat. I like that one because I was familiar with it and made sense in its own fantastical way. The other verses? Not so much. But the illustrations are very pretty so I enjoyed looking at those.

Rating: 3 out of 5 paws because the illustrations were pretty and it seemed a little unfair to give a poor rating because the book was exactly as advertised – nonsense!





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