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Summary: Rascal and his friends are house cats. They live in a very comfortable home in the city. While their owners are away on vacation, Rascal and his friends decide to venture outside and explore their neighbothood for the first time. Their escapades are educational, scarey, dangerous, funny, and heart warming. This is a pre-teen story with life lessons (from a cat's perspective).
Type of Reading: bedtime story, independent reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 6 to 10; read yourself: 9 to 12
Interest Level: 6 to 10
Young Reader Reaction: pending
Adult Reader Reaction: The intentions are admirable and the good things outweigh the shortcomings of this book. Still, it is only a 5 on the scale of 1 to 10.
The translation may be a part of the problem, as the adaptation of Polish to English vernacular is sometimes cumbersome.
Pros: The adventures of Rascal and his friends provide countless opportunities for the reader to learn about friendship, responsibility, respect for elders, appreciation of cultural differences, and dealing with fear.
Cons: Though meant to appeal to young readers, the stories will be more effective if they are “read to” rather than “read by” 8 to 10 year olds.
Borrow or Buy: Cat lovers will want to buy the book; the rest of us will hope to find it on the shelves of our local public library. The adventures are exciting, the characters are lovable, and the lessons are wholesome and applicable to everyday life.
Educational Themes: Adults will find it very easy to relate the characters/events into real-life situations familiar to listeners and readers. Themes include: friendship, loyalty, fair play, respect for elders, fear, and death.