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.

Reviewer:

simon-loc

Simon

 

Murder Go Round

murder go round

Murder Go Round
A Witch City Mystery #4

Kensington Publishing Corp, 2017

From the back of the book, “Lee Barrett has agreed to attend a storage auction with Aunt Ibby—even though she suspects the forgotten rooms will yield more junk than treasure. Her skepticism vanishes once the two win a bid on an overlooked locker and uncover a trove of beautiful curiosities, including a stunning wooden carousel horse with gentle eyes and fading paint. But just before Lee leaves the fairground relic at a local repair shop, the sight of a silver samovar awakens her psychic abilities and conjures visions of murder.

“Lee prays the intrusive ESP episode was just a glimpse into the past—until her policeman boyfriend reports a dean man outside the repair shop. Apparently, the unknown victim had been hot on Lee’s trail since the auction. And with the horse found dismantled, it looks like he was up to no good. What’s the story behind the antique equine, and could a strange bubble-gum chewing woman with fiery hair have something to do with the crime? Guided by her gift and O’Ryan, her wise tabby cat, Lee’s set on catching the murderer … before she’s sent on the darkest ride of her life.”

Murder Go Round is an excellent cozy mystery!! I’m new to the series – it’s one of those books mom happened to see at the library and since it had an orange tabby on the front cover, she decided to pick it up for me to read. Of course, Toby, the Great Orange One (in his own mind) said it was too bad the main character was a woman – otherwise he would have read it. He loves reading about orange cats and imagining himself in its place. There are three other books and mom already has a hold on them at the library so expect more reviews in the near future!!

The setting is Salem, Massachusetts and so witch fever abounds! The main character, Lee, has a gift of seeing visions, past, present and future – pretty handy when it comes to solving crimes. Also handy is a psychic cat who provides clues to Lee – if she would pay attention. Also, very helpful is Aunt Ibby who is a former reference librarian who is second to none in researching odd topics!

The mystery was well done – I didn’t realize what the bad guys were after until it was revealed and, looking back on all the clues provided – it made perfect sense. The one death was only seen through a vision and a couple of the visions Lee had were a little scary, even for me a small cat safe at home, reading in bed. The only other yukky scene was when Lee found a secondary character beaten and tied up. The murderer was pretty obvious but the mystery was not necessarily in who but in why. In books like these it’s about the motive, unraveling the clues and getting to the truth.

Rating 4 paws out of 5 for the storyline having a solid mystery based in historical facts, colorful characters and a wise orange tabby cat!

Reviewer:

bobbiesue-loc

BobbieSue

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

 

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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

 

Captains of the City Streets

captains of the city streets

Captains of the City Streets
A Jenny’s Cat Club Book

Esther Averill
The New York Review Children’s Collection, 1972

From the back of the book, “Sinbad and The Duke are two young tramps. They live on the streets and love “the free and easy life.” But they need somewhere to practice their boxing technique, so they leave the skyscrapers of Midtown for the houses and gardens of Greenwich Village—home to Jenny and the Cat Club. There Sinbad and The Duke find the perfect tumbledown backyard shack to call home and befriend a lonely kitten named Macaroni.

“When Sinbad and The Duke first happen to observe a meeting of the Cat Club, they’re sure that with its “Rules and Obligations,” it just isn’t their sort of thing. But the Cat Club turns out to need them, and before long the two street-smart fighters find reasons of their own to join the charmed – and charming – circle of Jenny and her friends.”

This prequel to Jenny and the Cat Club tells the history of Sinbad and The Duke as well as how Macaroni came to join the Cat Club. As with all the other Jenny books, this book is fun and sweet and an enjoyable story for kittens and adults alike. I would normally say I wouldn’t want to live in New York City, but the Greenwich Village where Sinbad and The Duke make their home sounds like a wonderful place to live. It is a rarity, of course, about cats living on their own with a kind human to feed them and provide a feeding station that has shelter from the wind and rain. Unfortunately, not all stray cats have humans who look after them, but it’s nice to think they do. And, I like how Sinbad and The Duke are so absolute in their refusal to join the Cat Club but they realize how lonely life on the streets is without friends and they ended up changing their minds.
Rating 4 out of 5 paws it’s a charming story (like the publisher said!) that is fun, sweet and suitable for all kittens. It also helps them to learn to be kind and generous to those stray cats who are in need.

Reviewer:

peggysue-loc

PeggySue