Review: Jenny and the Cat Club

A cat acquaintance of mine recommended Jenny and the Cat Club by Esther Averill to me. She and her children find it their favorite book about cats. After realizing that Averill was the author of the I Can Read picture book The Fire Cat, I bought a copy of Jenny and the Cat Club for myself and another cat friend. Since then, I have come to adore this series of stories about a cute black kitty and hope you will too. Jenny Linsky is a shy cat. This is my number one reason for liking Averill’s stories. The literary world … Continue reading Review: Jenny and the Cat Club

Review: Gaby, Lost and Found

Cute! Fun! Sweet! Inspiring! All these adjectives describe Gaby, Lost and Found, by Angela Cervantes, about a girl who wants to rescue animals but soon finds herself in need of a permanent home. Gaby, her friends, and even the adult guardians in her life make for a realistic and endearing cast. Through the suspenseful plot, readers will learn about shelters and immigration, besides being entertained. What struck me foremost is how true-to-life but also sympathetic the characters are. Gaby loves animals. She’ll do anything to rescue them. But she still feels a little upset when a cat in a tree … Continue reading Review: Gaby, Lost and Found

Interview with Author H.S. Toshack

I now interrupt my series of reviews to bring you an interview with H.S. Toshack. If you love animal books, and especially if you enjoyed Watership Down by Richard Adams, seek out the Paka Mdogo stories. You will not be disappointed! ALLISON: What took you to the Caribbean, Africa, Thailand, the Middle East, and now Portugal? H.S. TOSHACK: Here’s a general answer to begin with: a desire to engage with worlds beyond the one I grew up in. Why those particular places, however? They all offered a combination of rich experiences and equally rich professional opportunities – in other words … Continue reading Interview with Author H.S. Toshack

Review: The Meerkat Wars by H.S. Toshack

The Meerkat Wars by H.S. Toshack reminds me of the masterpiece Watership Down by Richard Adams, which also happens to be one of my all-time favorite books for children. In that hefty novel, along with appreciating the adventures of the fugitives, I also reveled in how intimately I came to know the world of rabbits. While I sometimes disagreed with the beliefs of the rabbits, I also appreciated the thematic complexity of Watership Down. By the same token, I love how intimately H. S. Toshack portrays the world of meerkats and a certain house cat named Sheena, who together face … Continue reading Review: The Meerkat Wars by H.S. Toshack

Review: The Book of Joe by Vincent Price

For dog lovers, The Book of Joe is quirky little book with lots of personality. It’s written by Vincent Price of Hollywood fame who starred as a villain in dozens of macabre horror films. Far from being scary, however, The Book of Joe is a light-hearted and humorous account of Price’s life with pets. An orange-brown-black haired mutt who came into an empty moment in Price’s life is the star of this memoir. Price referred to him as “all dog”. At one moment, Joe could dutifully put up with hauling and yanking of a five-year-old boy (Price’s son), and in another moment … Continue reading Review: The Book of Joe by Vincent Price

Review: Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck

The older I get, the more disinterested I become in classics, despite having grown up with them. They feel too long-winded, old-fashioned, and dull. Or as if they were childhood things which I’d been forced to enjoy. Nothing could be farther from my experience but, nowadays, it still takes the right book to remind me of how pleasurable and rich the experience of reading a classic can be. When my husband recently pointed out that Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck features a poodle, I pushed past my prejudice and fell in love with a good book. When Steinbeck was … Continue reading Review: Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck

A Big Little Life by Dean Koontz

A Big Little Life by Dean Koontz is an unusual memoir. It is full of both the highly fantastic and totally realistic events in the life of a golden retriever named Trixie. Canine Companions for Independence had bred Trixie as an assistance dog, but, after enjoying six months of helping a wheelchair-bound woman, Trixie developed a limp and underwent joint surgery. Shortly before her third birthday, Trixie retired to live with Gerda and Dean Koontz who view their nine years with her as their best. I enjoyed both learning more about famous author Dean Koontz and about the remarkable adventures … Continue reading A Big Little Life by Dean Koontz

Guest Post: Helping Children Grieve a Pet’s Death

How you do talk to a child about pet loss? I’m privileged today to share a guest post by Betty Carmack on this topic. She is both a pet counselor and the author of the book Grieving the Death of a Pet, which means she is well-qualified to talk about how to best support young people who lose their furry companion. Helping Children Grieve a Pet’s Death By Betty J. Carmack, R.N., Ed.D. In a recent conversation with a friend, she recounted her experience, as a seven-year old, of her cat, Tippy, dying because of an automobile accident. Her description was … Continue reading Guest Post: Helping Children Grieve a Pet’s Death

Review: Grieving the Death of a Pet by Betty Carmack

Years ago, I bought Grieving the Death of a Pet by Betty Carmack because the topic interested me. When I lost my cat of eight years, I picked it up again to once again find comfort in it. The first few weeks after Lucy’s death, the personal stories of owners who had also suffered loss filled me with such uncontrollable grief that I had to put the book back on my shelf. Eventually though, I was finally able to read Grieving the Death of a Pet in its entirety. In the chapter about love, Carmack addresses the bond that develops between owner … Continue reading Review: Grieving the Death of a Pet by Betty Carmack

Cinder’s Advice: How Do I Teach My Cat to Use a Scratching Post?

In December 2013, my husband and I adopted a one-year-old tortoiseshell cat from Hearts United for Animals. Cinder has taught us so much about cats that it seemed proper for her to have her own advice column. QUESTION: How do you introduce a new cat to a resident dog? “Cinder, look what we brought you!” Allison exclaimed, entering the spare room where I was resting on the window ledge. Andy placed a post covered in rough material on the carpeted floor. I sat up and stared at the new object, uncertain why it should interest me. Then because they said … Continue reading Cinder’s Advice: How Do I Teach My Cat to Use a Scratching Post?