Tag Archives: Cats

Bath Time: Kitty is Not a Cat – Bogan Entertainment Solutions/ Jess Black

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Hachette

OCT 27, 2020 | 9780734419798 | RRP $9.99

5 Minutes with Jess Black

The TV show that has enchanted young viewers continues to draw them in further with the books that are just perfect for newly independent readers.

Kitty has a very bad cough so of course her cat family all try to help, with varying suggestions none of which seem entirely useful. When Kitty coughs up a furball the cats all realise that the little girl has been following their example of grooming styles when in fact what she really should do is have a bath. A BATH! That’s definitely not the cat way so it takes quite some persuasion to get Kitty into the tub but once she’s there she realises that in some ways she’s far more human than cat!

Again another delightful story from the creators of these charming characters and one that will be a very popular read with your littlies from around 5 years upwards.

You could even check out the Kitty website here for some inspired stocking fillers and wonderful holiday activities!!

Nala’s World: One man, his rescue cat and a bike ride around the globe – Dean Nicholson

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Hachette Australia

SEP 29, 2020 | 9781529327991 | RRP $32.99

When Dean Nicholson set off on his cycling journey around the world he had little idea that his epic trip and his life would become an Instagram sensation after he picked up a tiny stray kitten in a remote area of the mountains between Montenegro and Bosnia.

Thirty-year-old Dean had been living an unsatisfactory existence in Dunbar, Scotland when he and a friend conceived of an idea to cycle the world. The pair didn’t last all that long but when Dean rescued little Nala he acquired a travelling companion who would not only become his best friend but empower him to become a fully-realised animal and environmental activist in the very best of ways.

While he already had a small following of friends and family on his Instagram feed, it was after his rescue and subsequent postings of Nala that his global audience exploded exponentially. With his Insta posts and YouTube channel Dean has not only endeared himself and his feisty little companion to thousands but has raised thousands of dollars to support small and struggling rescue shelters and charities in places that generally go unnoticed.

Their travels together of the past two years have fascinated their followers through all the ups and downs of life on the road – good times, difficult times, sickness, health, tragedies and celebrations. Their loyal fans have supported them, helped in practical and emotional multitudes of ways and cheered them on proving time and again the generosity and kindness of strangers that can still be found, even in these troubled times. And I deliberately stress that last as the book concludes with the first frightening and sweeping wave of the Covid pandemic – fortunately, Dean was able to narrowly escape being locked down in the UK away from Nala in Hungary. Coronavirus may have put the brakes on Dean’s dream trip, but nothing can stop this indomitable pair as they forge their way forward, helping whomever they can with what they can.

This hugely heart-warming and inspirational story will further Dean’s mission to support those who need it as well providing an enjoyable read whether you are a cat-lover or not. I know that when this goes onto my shelves with the other new true-life and biography books I’ve recently added, it will be snapped up immediately by one of my many readers for whom this will be an excellent follow-on from A Cat Named Bob especially.

Check out Dean and Nala at 1bike1world

Catvinkle and the Missing Tulips – Elliot Perlman

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Penguin Australia 29 September 2020

ISBN: 9781760894382

Imprint: Puffin

RRP: $19.99

If you, like me, loved the first Catvinkle book and couldn’t wait to share it with your kiddos, you will also love this new hilarious episode with all the crazy animal characters of the first plus some equally quirky new ones!

Catvinkle and Ula love their human children friends, Anja and Ferdi, and are very excited that the children are visiting the cosy home they share with Mr Sabatini but the kidsare distracted and unable to fully enjoy their catch-up with their animal besties. The two sheep who live at Aunt Beehive’s place are suspected of eating prize tulips and under threat of being sent away out of Amsterdam.

The children and the animals, of course with help from their other wise friend Lobbus the brave dog, are able to establish that the two sheep might be quite silly but cannot possibly have eaten the tulips.

The evidence they secure is no help however when nasty Twinkiepaws, still madly jealous of Catvinkle, incites the cats and kittens of Amsterdam to put the sheep on trial for ruining the beauty of the city.

It’s going to take more than the information the group has gained from the human scientists and certainly more than Catvinkle’s dubious skills as a defense lawyer so it’s a quick trip to Russia to seek out the legally-minded bears, Grisha and Sivka, to help out. In an adventure that involves a very powerful and rather cranky wolf, some visiting Australian koalas, the glamorous Ketzington D. Kitten and some fancy footwork side-stepping various problems the trial reaches a very satisfactory conclusion for all – well, except for Twinkiepaws.

Aside from the humour there is a lot to think about around fairness and justice, compassion and loyalty and the critical endangered status of riverine rabbits (gotta love a story with bunnies in it!).

Catvinkle continues to delight with her very obvious self-admiration but her innate compassionate nature, ably encouraged by the far more placid and sensible Ula.

Don’t miss out on this one – and of course pick up the first if you missed it – your kids from around 10 years upwards will love the introduction!

Kitty is not a Cat – Jess Black/Bogan Entertainment Solutions

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Hachette

Lights Out

JUL 28, 2020 | 9780734419750 | RRP $9.99

Teddy’s Bear

JUL 28, 2020 | 9780734419774 | RRP $9.99

I no longer have a little person to watch such shows but by all accounts Kitty is not a Cat is a hugely successful animated series. A rather motley clowder of cats live together in a ramshackle old mansion, left to them by an eccentric benefactress. Their free-spirited antics ensure that life is always a party where anything goes but when there is an unexpected knock at the door one night and Kitty arrives, their wild ways are in for a disruption. Kitty is not a cat but she wants to be one and though the cats try very hard to re-home her it seems she is going to be a permanent fixture.

Now fans of the show can read about their favourite glaring of cats – and one non-cat – in a delightful new junior reader series written by Jess Black.

When Kitty’s night light mysteriously disappears her sleep is very much disturbed and of course, in turn, the cat’s routine TV viewing of their favourite Purr-anormal programs. Of course cats are not familiar with the concept of being afraid of the dark but they do their very best to sort Kitty’s problem with some very creative, though not necessarily, successful solutions. Finally Kitty’s night fright is sorted – and so is the mystery of the disappearing night light!

The cat gang decide that Kitty needs a new toy for the coming winter months and what could be better than a cuddly teddy bear? The problem is that the felines are really not across exactly what a teddy bear is so once more hilarity ensues as each attempts to satisfy the issue. Cheeta thinks he’s solved the problem when he brings home a real-life grizzly bear and for a while it seems that rather than being gobbled up they can all have some fun together. But when the bear starts his hibernation the original problem is still – well, a problem Luckily Mr Clean has saved the day with his ingenuity – and love.

This is just fabulous on a lot of levels – full of great humour, unconditional love and the certainty that one can be anything one wants – even a cat!!

Goes without saying that it appeals to us – being pretty much solid cat people – but I highly recommend it for your newly independent readers who will love being able to make connections between the show and the books.

The Astronaut’s Cat – Tohby Riddle

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Allen & Unwin

March 2020

ISBN 9781760524944

RRP: $24.99

Tohby Riddle comments that he could not have predicted just how apt  his new book would be given our current circumstances but it really is going to be a perfect story to share and discuss with your readers.

Given how many cats have come and gone in my life and just how many times I’ve maintained ‘this one is going to be an inside cat’ I’m pretty impressed with a cat who despite her insatiable curiosity (like all cats! our kitten fell into the fishpond just ten minutes ago trying to get a better look!) is content to stay inside her astronaut’s space ship and dream of running and leaping in the outdoors whether that be moonscape or Earth. The astronaut’s cat does have plenty to do inside – much of which involves chasing her ball – and she really doesn’t very much like what she can see out of the window. To her mind the moon looks very dull and boring but there would be advantages and she can easily imagine herself leaping gravity-free from one silvery grey rock to another.

As so many are also dreaming of what they might do or where they might be when this looking out the window and ‘stay at home’ strange period of our lives is done, the astronaut’s cat revels in her imagined playspace. So many are bemoaning their forced isolation but we tend to forget that there are those who do this as a matter of course – astronauts, scientists of all disciplines and spiritual beings among them. Perhaps our time now to reflect and dream is a blessing in disguise.

Like all Tohby’s books the illustrations are charming and with quirky details which will amuse the readers just as much as the story.

For another take on the Earth’s wonders, the mystery of the Moon and of course for all cat-lovers I highly recommend this to you and your readers from around 5 years upwards. Certainly a perfect book to share at this point in time!

 

Animal Crackers

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Now that the pile of review novels is finally getting to a stage that could be described as semi-tamed, it’s time to get stuck into plethora picture books. So here are some animal-focused ones to get into – because we all know that our little readers just love a great animal story and we love them because so often they send such positive messages.

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Flat Cat – Hiawyn Oram/Gwen Millard

Walker Books Australia

January 2019

ISBN: 9781406371543
Australian RRP: $24.99
New Zealand RRP: $27.99

“If you love something, set it free” – that was my first thought on reading this book. My second thought was the memory of buying my beloved Burmese cat, Possum, many years ago. I was determined that he would be an ‘inside’ cat but after two weeks of completely shredded flyscreens, I realised that was not in his nature and so he became an inside/outside cat and was my best friend for the eight years of his life.

Sophie loves Jimi-My-Jim and gives him everything you might think a cat could desire – toys, special food, sparkly collars, beds and even clothes. The one thing that Jimi-My-Jim is missing is freedom. He is never allowed outside and gradually he becomes ‘Flat Cat’ because he so morose at seeing the outside world only through a window. When one day by accident, Flat Cat manages to get hold of the front door keys, he is off and away and discovers a world full of other cats, life, excitement, joy and another very special cat – Blanche.  While at first the consequences prove to be difficult for both Flat Cat and Sophie, they are overcome and Flat Cat is able to pursue his new life – with the joy of the freedom plus the joy of being Sophie’s special friend.

This offers a serious point of discussion about when, if ever, it’s acceptable to reject the rules in place and certainly gives ‘helicopter’ parents an opportunity to examine their practices.

I certainly recommend it for young readers from around six years upwards – but would suggest that it could also be a valuable addition to parent information nights!

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Good Rosie! – Kate de Camillo. Pictures by Harry Bliss

Walker Books Australia

October 2018

ISBN: 9781406383577
Australian RRP: $24.99
New Zealand RRP: $27.99

 

I really meant to get to this one sooner rather than later because I truly adore Kate di Camillo’s work. This is such a departure from her novels but is truly enchanting and endearing.

We all need friends and Rosie is no exception. She has a good life with her human, George, but is lonely without doggy companions. Sometimes it seems that she and George don’t have much in common, for example, an intense interest in squirrels. When George takes Rosie to the dog park for the first time, she is somewhat overwhelmed. She has never seen so many dogs before and she feels confronted and scared. She is even more so when Maurice, a very large St Bernard approaches shaking his toy bunny with such vigour it’s a wonder the toy’s extremities still exist. But then the tiny Fifi with her sparkly collar doesn’t seem a kindred spirit either.

It takes an unfortunate incident between Maurice and Fifi to help Rosie realise that sometimes friends come in different shapes and sizes and that we don’t all ‘click’ at first sight.

Formatted in a graphic novel style, this is a lovely reminder about unlikely friendships but moreover about overcoming prejudices and feeling anxious.

A fabulous book for sharing with young readers to kick-start conversations about acceptance and building relationships.

 

Saying Goodbye to Barkley – Devon Sillett/Nicky Johnston

barkley

EK Books

978-1-925335-96-5

$24.99

Losing our furbabies is difficult. For children who have grown up with a special pet it is arguably even moreso. Super Olivia and her trusty sidekick, Barkley, have always been a team. As Olivia carries out her amazing super-hero deeds, Barkley is always right by her giving his all. When Barkley is no longer there, Olivia feels her zest for super-sleuthing and action-heroism has also gone. But after her grieving she realises that Barkley would not want her to give up her passion in life, nor forget his extraordinary assistance. Olivia knows what she must do as a true super-hero for whom rescues are a daily event. She must rescue a new sidekick.

Spud is white, fluffy and adorable – and absolutely useless at fighting crime and uncovering dastardly plots but Olivia loves her anyway.

This is not a story about replacing one pet for another but a beautiful way of describing that eventually we can heal from our losses and find joy in other ways, events and companions.

Highly recommended for readers from around six years upwards.

 

 

The Adventures of Catvinkle – Elliot Perlman

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catvinkle

Penguin Random House

9780143786368

October 1, 2018

Puffin

RRP $19.99

 

Well regarded author of adult books Elliot Perlman has ably proven that he can turn his hand just as easily to writing for children with this first book for younger readers. It is delightfully whimsical and carries a literary flavour of its Amsterdam setting within its text with an enviable ease (very reminiscent of Annie M. G. Schmidt’s beautiful classics).

 

Catvinkle is a much pampered only pet of a charming barber in Amsterdam. She is exceedingly beautiful and certainly talented in some ways but also very definitely selfish and rather casual with the truth. When her owner Mr Sabatini brings home a rather forlorn and neglected Dalmation named Ula, Catvinkle is extremely unimpressed to say the least. An intruder into her cosy parlour and water bowl and a dog to boot is the last thing with which she wants to contend. It will completely ruin her social standing in Kittens Anonymous for one thing!

 

Ula’s sweet nature and compliant personality win Catvinkle over slowly (of course her delicious musky smell which acts intoxicatingly on the cat helps) but it also endears her to others as she breaks down barriers between not only cats and dogs but dogs and dogs!

 

The subtle themes of anti-racism, anti-bullying, acceptance, tolerance, friendship and loyalty are delivered in a wonderfully funny story where cats who baby-shoe dance, fly with tail propellers and llamas who play backgammon are quite the norm.

 

Readers from around eight years upwards will delight in this magical story of animals whose lives seem to mirror those of humans.

 

 

 

Maya & Cat – Caroline Magerl

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maya

Walker Books Australia

ISBN: 9781921977282
Release Date: August 1, 2018
Australian RRP: $24.99
New Zealand RRP: $27.99
Throughout our college and certainly in my library at present we are having a great focus on kindness and empathy. With my little people I am using a range of picture books which offer this theme that also feature animals as this meshes with their classroom unit.

Author/illustrator Caroline Magerl’s new picture book, launched this week, is a perfect fit for this very unit with its themes of resilience and friendship along with the very essence of kindness.

Maya follows her empathic instincts to coax Cat down from on high and thereafter tries to find her rightful home. When she does so, her sadness at leaving Cat with her own family is assuaged by an unexpected surprise, one which fills her with absolute delight.

This text features some absolutely scrumptious figurative language which would be inspirational for encouraging children to attempt their own evocative writing.

“On a roof, wet as a seal, grey as a puddle, Cat was rumbling a rumbly purr.” 

The stunning artwork perfectly captures the mood of the text and the endpapers are just sensational! (My kidlets all know about my predilection for gorgeous endpapers!)

If you are searching for more wonderful books that will assist with growing empathy in children, this will make a super addition to your collection.

I highly recommend it to you for readers from around Prep upwards.

Who Hid the Socks?  – Rosemary Coombs/ Lorraine Robertson & Warren Brown

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socks

Bullawai Books

April 2018

  • 9780994611819
  • 9780994611826

RRP: $16.99

We all know the problem of disappearing socks. Miss Small favours odd socks but even with that un-complication we still seem to be scratching around for the little blighters often.

So many children will get the giggles as they help search for the missing socks in the illustrations in this new book. Part rhyme and part prose it has a joyful rhythm and lots of interaction along the way.

In all this time I’ve never expected that the family cat (or cats in our case) might be responsible for sock thievery! But then neither of ours is called Socks so perhaps we will have to search out another thief!

As well as the missing socks children have the opportunity to re-examine the colourful illustrations to find other objects via checklists at the end of the book.

This is a fun and simple book for little readers from around 4 years upwards. It would make a super bedtime read to explore and find all the items.

Recommended for kindy & child care groups as well as Junior Primary classes.

Available on request from Bullawai Books, (Specialist Publication and Editing Services ABN 14790495731)
through email

Collins Modern Classics: Thomasina (: the Cat who Thought She was a God) – Paul Gallico

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thomasina

ISBN: 9780007395187

ISBN 10: 0007395183

Imprint: HarperCollins – GB

RRP $14.99

 

When I was little and even a bit more than little my mother often took me to the movies. Usually we saw Disney films or musicals – our favourites. I’m guessing it was around 1964 and I was eight years old when we went to see The 3 Lives of Thomasina which I adored. Some others of a certain vintage may also remember it with Patrick McGoohan, Susan Hampshire and a very young Karen Dotrice. What I didn’t realise at the time was that it was also a very well known book by a very famous author (despite being a voracious reader). When I did discover the book I fell in love with the story all over again and now have had the great pleasure of receiving this new edition in the  Collins Modern Classics series.

Seven year old Mary Ruadh is motherless but has a father who loves her beyond life. Of course she loves him as well, though others find him very cold and often crochety. Alas poor Mr McDhui is the village vet, a thwarted doctor due to family pressures and really he’s not very fond of animals. Especially he is resentful of young Mary’s pet Thomasina, a cat of wisdom for whom the child holds a fierce passion.

When Thomasina falls ill, the vet is in the depths of a crisis trying to save a blind man’s dog and callously tells his assistant to put the cat down. Mary’s grief is boundless and her antagonism towards her father is vengeful and actually cruel as a result.

Yet Thomasina is not dead. She is rescued by a strange young woman who lives in the woods as a hermit and tends to the wild creatures.  Thomasina’s second life begins in Lori’s cottage and she feels her previous life as an Egyptian deity is back.

Mary’s intensity of grief is so overwhelming and leads to her falling closer and closer to death from a broken heart. Her father is beside himself and has nowhere to turn until he too discovers the compassionate power that Lori holds.

Fey Lori is the catalyst that will provide healing for father, child and cat.

This is an iconic Gallico book full of magic reality. Love, compassion, trust and faith all play their part in this strange and compelling story.

Gallico wrote over forty books (did you know he wrote The Poseidon Adventure?) and many of them feature similar themes and animals.

This is well worth a re-visit and an introduction to a new generation.

Highly recommended for readers from around ten years upwards.