Tag Archives: felines

Catting Around

Frankie Works the Night Shift by Lisa Westberg Peters (Greenwillow Books, 32 pages, $16.99)

People sometimes wonder what it is we cats do all night long.   Well, this neat-o book by Lisa Westberg Peters (illustrated by Jennifer Taylor) shows that we keep the household going, doing lots of essential stuff while the lazy humans are asleep.   We chase mice, clean counters, empty trash cans, water the yard and call meetings of the Neighborhood Watch Patrol.

Yes, we work while you sleep and if not for cats like Frankie, who knows what a mess you’d wake up to in the morning!   This is just a great 32-page book that introduces the young kids to us felines and helps them to learn how to count.   OK, so the adults in the household may not appreciate the so-called “ruckus” they claim we make when it’s dark but – as my favorite band the Eagles sing – get over it!

The illustrations are beautiful and do justice to us handsome cats and even the stupid dogs.   The end of the story finds Frankie sleeping after taking care of business all night.   Let sleeping cats lie is what I say.   Oh, and give them plenty of Purina Party Mix Treats.   You’d better add this one to the family library.

Highly recommended.

This review was written by Munchy Arellano, the brown tabby cat.   A review copy was received from the publisher.   Munchy has received no compensation for his endorsement of Purina Party Mix Cat Treats.  

Frankie Works the Night Shift is recommended for children between the ages of 3 and 8.

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Guardians of Being

Guardians of Being combines the words of Eckhart Tolle, author of The Power of Now and A New Earth, with the whimsical illustrations of Patrick McDonnell, the creator of the Mutts cartoons, in a heartwarming inspirational and joyful package.   The Oprah Magazine has called the book “an inspired collaboration between spiritual teacher Tolle and comic strip artist McDonnell.   A book to make you wiggle with joy.”

From the publisher:  “More than a collection of witty and charming drawings, the marriage of Patrick McConnell’s art and Eckhart Tolle’s words conveys a profound love of animals, of humans, of all life-forms.   Guardians of Being celebrates and reminds us of not only the oneness of all life but also the wonder and joy to be found in the present moment, amid the beauty we sometimes forget to notice all around us.”

This is a book to be treasured.   The wisdom of the words, combined with the charming illustrations, make this a book to be savored, not just read.   Browsing through this book is an almost meditative experience, and it will most definitely remind the reader about what really matters in life.

Two of my favorite quotes from the book are:

Everything natural – every flower, tree and animal – has important lessons to teach us if we would only stop, look, and listen.

Just watching an animal closely can take you out of your mind and bring you into the present moment, which is where the animal lives all the time – surrendered to life.

I have always believed that animals are amazing teachers.   It’s nice to see that I’m in good company.   Treat yourself to this book – and while you’re at it, pick one up for your closest friend.

This review was written by Ingrid King, author of Buckley’s Story: Lessons From a Feline Master Teacher.   Buckley’s Story will be reviewed on this site in the near future.   Thank you to Ingrid for allowing us to reprint her review.   You can read more of her writings about very fine felines at http://consciouscat.net .

I love my cats because I love my home and after a while they become its visible soul.   Jean Cocteau

 

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Like A Tiger

If there’s one thing I know, as an “80 year old” and somewhat mature cat, it’s that children love felines.   They like to call out to us (“Here, kitty!”), pet us, hold us, pick us up and even carry us around.   Sometimes this results in bad consequences, but that’s a story for another day.   The point is, what animal would be better to teach kids about new words and new ideas?   (Quiet, you dogs.)

In the words of humans, this book is full of “illustrations of cats, along with rhyming couplets about them which require the reader to fill in words demonstrating opposites, like tall and short, nice and mean, young and old.”   Maybe they should have included furry and bald!   Up and down?   Anyway, this is a book meant to show the smaller humans – precisely those in the terrible 2 to loveable 5 age group – that some things are like other things and some things are different than other things.   Ouch – that made my head hurt to think about it!

Each page of the book shows all kinds of cats, including ones that look like friends of mine (nice) and ones that are my enemies (not so nice).   All the cats were wonderfully drawn by someone named Ami Rubinger, who may be a big cat himself.   Most little humans will love this book – I think – the way I love Purina’s Party Mix cat treats!   And a lot of big humans, too.   Don’t be surprised if this book turns your family into a bunch of Rhymin’ Simons!

Oh, I’m supposed to tell you that this would make a purr-fectly excellent baby shower gift.   I give this little big book a rating of four paws plus one tail.   Or is that tale?   I get confused, I know that one’s a story and one’s part of me that I use to balance my body with.   One of them, I know, comes in handy when I’m climbing fences.   Oh, sorry…   I’m supposed to be giving you a New York Times Book Review-ish chat-up about the book.   So I’ll pontificate long enough to say that this is one book as good as milk served with cream on top.   Tell your friends but not the dogs…   Yeowk!

Abbeville Kids, $13.95, 28 pages

big cat small cat

This review was written by Munchy the brown Norwegian Forest Cat.   Reprinted courtesy of Sacramento Book Review.

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A Cat Named Darwin

I was born a Homo Sapiens./ Then I became a biologist./ Then I became a cat.

You have no idea./ Read on, friends.

Many years ago I finished reading a book about a cat that I was quite sure would never be surpassed.   That book was The Best Cat Ever by the late Cleveland Amory.   Imagine my surprise, then, when I came across a paperback by someone named William Jordan…   The book was A Cat Named Darwin: Embracing the Bond Between Man and Pet.   This is the best cat story ever!

Jordan’s tale is perhaps best expressed by this book’s original sub-title:  How a Stray Cat Changed a Man into a Human Being.   As he so nicely explains, “…it was during my forty-fifth year on this glowing blue Earth that a cat entered my house and stole my heart.”   Yes, the then-unnamed cat was a “home invader” who instead of being chased away, entered writer Jordan’s home and office flat in Long Beach, California.   It seems that the more Jordan attempts to get rid of the cat he  named after Charles Darwin, the more the cat embeds itself into his home/heart.

Eventually Jordan realizes that the more time he spends around the wily Darwin the more he enjoys himself; Darwin helps the author to re-create himself as a better person.   “…because I had come to love this small creature, whatever happened to him happened to me.”   Sadly, Darwin is a very sick cat but this makes the time he spends with the author all the more precious.

Yes, every cat – if not pet – owner will identify with Darwin’s antics and activities.   Like our own retired cat, he was first and foremost a fighter in his prime:   “…he loved the slings and arrows of the feline military existence.   Combat gave meaning to his life.   Danger was what he lived for.”

Jordan, trained as a biologist, does an excellent job of explaining why cats – whose ancestors have occupied the planet for 60 million years or so – are so intelligent and why they are able to co-exist with their human owners in a way that is distinct from dogs.   The one caution about this book is that it would certainly be a difficult read for anyone who has recently lost a pet; contra, some would find it the best time to read this true story of love and loss.

Yes, this is a love story, now available in trade paperback form for $14.95 (Mariner Books).   In the author’s words, “I thanked Darwin for giving me life.”   At the end of this furry tail (tale), you will thank the author and Darwin and Hoover the cat for giving us this story.   Highly, highly recommended!

In the end,/ Because I became a cat,/ I became a human being.

Joseph Arellano

This book was purchased by the reviewer.   “A gripping and powerful book…  shot through with a kind of elation.”   San Diego Union-TribuneDarwin (lg.)

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