Papa Piccolo

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Papa Piccolo

Carol Talley
Illustrated by Itoko Maeno
Marsh Media, 1992, 2008

From the dust jacket: “The lion is the emblem of Venice, but the common cat rules its narrow streets and alleyways. A prince among these feline rulers is Piccolo, and what a fine life he leads! Especially after dark—when the streets are full of possibilities!

“Then one night, Piccolo makes a discovery that threatens his carefree life and his independence and starts him on a new and special kind of adventure.

“In these pages, you will also meet Caesar—Piccolo’s older and somewhat cynical friend, and Sophia—the shoe shop cat, to whom Piccolo turns for advice when his life takes it turn. And you will meet two irresistible kittens—one spotted and one striped—who need a home and who help Piccolo discover his own tender heart.”

Piccolo is quite the roaming tomcat – he and his pal Caesar patrol their streets looking for mischief and sardines! All that changes when he meets two homeless kittens and after he tries to pawn the kittens off on a female friend, Sophia (she says absolutely not!), they win him over and he becomes a papa.

This is an adorable book that offers a different kind of family – one that has a boy cat looking after kittens. The author wrote it to teach boys that it’s okay to be nurturing but thankfully, the teaching part comes as an afterword at the end of the book and not as a part of the story. The illustrations of Venice are wonderful – it makes me want to go there!

Rating: 4 out of 5 paws because Piccolo rescued some kittens and is proud to be a papa!

Reviewer: simon-loc Simon



Yearling, an Imprint of Random House Children’s Books, 2006
From the back of the book, “Bernie keeps a barn full of animals the rest of the world has no use for—two retired sulky horses, an overly enthusiastic rooster, some banty hems, and a Muscovy duck with clipped wings called the Lady. The Lady is pretty much the Law, and so, when the tough-looking cat who calls himself Whittington shows up one day, it is to the Lady that he makes an appeal to secure a place in the barn.
“This is the earthy story of Bernie’s barn, not without its life-and-death dramas. It is the story of Bernie’s grandson, Ben, who is reading below grade level and struggles with lessons from his sister, Abby, every day in the barn. And it is the rousing and exotic tale the cat, Whittington, tells as balm for Ben after the grueling lessons—the adventures of Dick Whittington, who once made his fortune because of a nameless cat. Masterfully interwoven these threads become a novel about the healing, transcendent power of storytelling and how, if you have loved ones surrounding you and good stories  to tell, to listen to, and to read, you have just about everything of true value in this world.”


We enjoyed this book quite a bit. We liked Whittington a lot – he’s a scrappy cat who’s been around – and has the scars to prove it.  When he first appears at the barn, its just to find a safe place to land and to prove his worthiness to the Lady and the other frightened fowl, he has to forge a peace between the grain-and egg-stealing-rats and the chickens that roost in the barn. After he takes care of a few of the rats, they have peace and all the animals get along. I liked the relationship between all the animals and the humans. The animals all talk to each other as well as to Abby and Ben. It is a story of animal rescue, love, support and a reminder that our true family members are not necessarily those we were born to or raised with. 


This chapter book is for middle-grade readers, and especially for all those who love and appreciate animals. The author does talk briefly about Whittington killing a couple of rats; there is a dog attack  – which the scrappy stray quickly sorts out; a hawk attack which doesn’t end in tragedy; and a brief passage in which Whittington visits the lady-cat up the lane and we find out later he has a couple of kittens by her. If you read it to the younger ones, you may have to edit it a bit, depending on the sophistication of your listeners!


Rating: 4 paws


0807bReviewer: PeggySue


The Brave Kitten

brave kittenThe Brave Kitten

Pet Rescue Adventure

Holly Webb

Illustrations by Sophy Williams

Tiger Tales, Little Tiger Press, 2016, 2014

Young Helena is walking with her cousin Lucy one chilly morning going to Lucy’s work at a vet clinic when Lucy spies something furry under a parked car. She inspects it and see’s its’ an injured kitten; Lucy wraps the cold, skinny cat up in her scarf and they rush to the clinic. Once there, the kitten has some touch-and-go moments but he survives with the only major visible injury is his broken leg. Helena falls in love with the kitten and she visits him as often as she can; she wants desperately to take him home but her mother won’t let her get a cat and the kitten’s owner has never shown up. It looks like the shy and afraid little kitten will have to go to the shelter. Who will adopt him when he won’t even come to the front of the cage to be petted? Who would want a kitten that has a broken leg? Helena worries about him and finally works up the nerve to ask her mother if he can come home with her. What will her mother say? Will the kitten ever settle in and learn to like humans again?

This little early reader story is very sweet, told alternately from Helena’s and the kitten’s point of view. It encourages compassion for creatures who cannot speak for themselves and shows an easy way for even the younger kids to get involved in raising money for shelters. This book is one of a series of thirteen in the Pet Rescue Adventures by the author. The large print, easy to understand plot-line (which includes some worrying/scary moments for the kitten and Helena but is resolved positively) and the pencil drawing illustrations make this a perfect book for early readers who enjoy learning about animals and pets.

Rating 4 paws

007Reviewer: BobbieSue


The Incredible Story of Henry Bergh
Founder of the ASPCA and Friend to Animals

Nancy Furstinger
Illustrations by Vincent Desjardins
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016

Henry Bergh was born in 1813 to a wealthy family and lived a privileged lifestyle. As many rich children often do, he had no desire for real work and instead wandered the globe as a young man living off his family’s wealth. He eventually settled down and got married. While on his honeymoon in Europe he and his wife witnessed the horrific and bloody end of 25 horses and 8 bulls in an afternoon of bullfighting. His response to the enthusiastically cheering crowd  was “Never before has a similar degree of disgust been experienced by us, or such a hearty contempt for a people calling themselves civilized and at the same time Christians.”

Later on he spent time in Russia where he came to the defense of a wagon driver beating his horse. In 1865 he moved back to New York with a new found mission in life – that of saving animals from a life of abuse and cruelty. February of 1866 saw Bergh form the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to animals. From that time forward he spent his life fighting for the rights of abused animals everywhere. Through the hard and diligent work of Mr. Bergh we have laws against animal cruelty today.

I enjoyed reading this book – it is written for middle grade kittens but is easily accessible to all ages. For younger kittens, it might be wise to have an older cat read this to them so they may skip over the abusive parts. Although not overly graphic in description, the abuse suffered is nonetheless terrible and for sensitive kittens, it might be nightmare inducing. The illustrations are interesting but don’t necessarily add anything to the overall message of the book. There are photographs as well and it is always interesting to look at records of a long-gone era.

This biography provides a good overview of Mr. Bergh’s struggle with changing the way society looks and treats its animals. It reinforces a lesson of perseverance in the face of resistance. Mr. Bergh endured years of humiliating articles and cartoons in newspapers as well as ridicule and mocking. But he continued to work without fail. Through his life we can learn to fight for what we believe in, and know that it is okay to go home, have a good cry and get back up the next day and do it all again. If you are in animal rescue and need encouragement, want something uplifting and very quick to read (I read it in about 3 hours), consider this book. It may have you reenergized to get out and fight the good fight.

Rating: 4 paws

jackReviewer: Jack


Mr. Bergh was known for stopping overloaded trolley horses and making people get off. (The average life span of a trolley horse was TWO years.)
Mr. Bergh developed a humane rescue system for horses stuck in water and mud.
Stray dogs were tempted into service by food then when they could no longer work they were abandoned.


We read this book as a part of the Summer Reading Challenge!

Topic: Read a book of Non Fiction!

Click on the logo to go to our SRC 2016 page!

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Also published on Sunny Book Garden under the non de plume, Debby.

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A Tribute to another Library Cat

The Board has only just heard of this wonderful Library Cat – we wished we had known him when he was alive.  We only just discovered him through another blogger – and found that he had a large fan base in the Thorntown Library (Indiana).

The Adventures of Tober, the Thorntown Library Cat Please check out HIS BLOG and send good thoughts to those who are mourning him.

My Zoolatry Picture:

“I am the Boss Library Cat at TPL. I like my job! I was an Outside Cat until I was rescued by my Assistant Boss on October 19, 2008,” Tober.

 Tober, we hope you are reading to the other cats at the Bridge!

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