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

 

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

 

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!!!