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“A word of encouragement during a failure is worth more than an hour of praise after success.”
Summary: After Mati’s mother is killed, Mati finds himself in a new place (Cressida Lock), trying to fit in. He looks and acts differently than the other cats, but because of a spell of protection that his mother put on him, he can’t remember his true identity. Little by little he discovers who he is,as he must face his past and accept his destiny. The main character in this story, a cat, draws on mythology for this magical adventure.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, independent reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 10 and up; read yourself: 12 and up
Young Reader Reaction: This book is somewhat reminiscent of the Warriors series, by Erin Hunter. At the very least, Iserles evokes a very well-thought-out image of a feral cat society, mistrustful and highly insular, looking only to themselves to solve their issues. The disdain they have for humans, or ‘hinds’ is also characteristic of their society, and is well-written. However, I did not enjoy the book,
and found it to be full of cliches and somewhat spotty events that seemed ill-planned. The mysterious power that Mati possesses seems to be somewhat of a Deus ex Machina, and warps his personality in the space of a few pages so at the end of the book he is nothing like
what he was at the beginning. Overall, the pace seemed too rushed and a few events required suspension of disbelief.
Adult Reader Reaction: I don’t usually enjoy books where the main characters are animals, but I found this one exciting and fun to read!! Mati was a very well-developed character and I enjoyed the references to Ancient Egypt. The theme of true friendship also runs throughout the story, making it a great book to read and discuss with children.
Pros: Teens will enjoy this story of friendship and discovery.
Cons: Occasionally the author switches from a cat voice to a human voice. Teen reviewer notes that there is too much cliche.
Borrow or Buy: Buy! This is a great book, and it would be fun to read with your children or class.
Educational Themes: This would be a great read aloud to use as an introduction to the theme of friendship and a discussion of what qualities exist in a true friend, The story also has references to mythology and Ancient Egypt, which could be used to enhance history curriculum.
Notes: The Reading Tub, Inc. received an advance reader copy of this title.