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Homer's Odyssey by Gwen Cooper

Review by Gloria Rapoport

 
Are you  ready to meet Homer ,  "the Blind Wonder Cat"  who taught Gwen Cooper about "Love and Life" ?  Here is a wonderful true story that will change all your preconceived notions about what it means to be "handicapped" , and the importance of accepting every creature on  his or her  own terms  without prejudice.
 
Homer was a rescue  kitten who was discovered too  late to cure a bad eye infection which cost him his eyesight, but who was otherwise  healthy . The vet who saved his life undertook the difficult task of finding him a home with someone who could accept a sightless cat . Gwen and Homer bonded immediately and she took him home despite having two  other rescue  cats and a rocky financial situation. And so began a twelve year ,adventure filled life for this little family of four.
 
Homer's personality, courage,  and joy of life affected everyone who came in contact with him and the reader  quickly becomes enthralled as  well. The story  involves following this family from their residence in Miami  through a major move to Manhattan. One cautionary note...there are  two upsetting episodes in the book which may not be suitable for the very youngest readers. One involves a frightening  encounter with a burglar in Florida,   and the other is the harrowing  story of what happens  to the family after the 9/11 attack in New York City.  Fortunately , this is a happy ending story and highly recommended for all who love animal and nature tales . Additionally , it has a wonderful and important message about how we view the "handicapped".

 

 

MARLEY AND ME 

 

Review By Gloria Rapoport

 

If you are looking for a relaxing read, this is a laugh out loud, funny book for adults. John Grogan is a professional journalist who has a way with both words and humor. Perhaps you have seen the movie based on this book, but you are still in for a treat...the book is so much better!
 
John and Jenny Grogan adopt an adorable Labrador Retriever puppy as a young married couple to test out their readiness to be nurturing parents. What they don't expect is that their lives will be turned upside down by a dog who is a powerhouse of energy, has a morbid dread of thunderstorms,  fails obedience school and, in the process, destroys both their furnishings and peaceful home life.  Nevertheless, Marley's exuberance for life, devotion to his family and loving nature eventually outweigh his shortcomings, and he becomes a beloved member of the Grogan family.  
 
The book follows the family  as it grows to include three children, as they make job changes, and finally as they move from Florida to a country setting up North. If you have ever had a pet you will empathize completely with the joys and frustrations of having an animal member of your family. Marley's life story rings true, and you will be glad that YOU don't have to clean up the mess.

 

 

PET TREATS – another good animal book, but this time for the grownups in the house

 

A YEAR OF CATS AND DOGS, BY MARGARET HAWKINS
Permanent Press
$28


ISBN: 13: 978-1-57962-189-6

 

Review By Joan Schweighardt

 

Those who love both fiction and animals have probably read Carolyn Parkhurst’s THE DOGS OF BABEL and David Wroblewski’s THE STORY OF EDGAR SAWTELLE. Both are heart-wrenchingly wonderful stories, and the animals in them (dogs in both cases) are not just peripheral characters but main characters without which neither book could exist. Moreover, in both books the dogs are assigned (by various characters or the authors themselves) special abilities that animal lovers are likely to find more or less credible. In THE DOGS OF BABEL, a professor of linguistics becomes obsessed with teaching his dog, Lorelei, to speak—because Lorelei witnessed his wife’s death and is the only one who knows whether it was an accident or a suicide. In THE STORY OF EDGAR SAWTELLE, a book full of dogs and dog breeders, all the dogs are exceptional, but Almondine, who becomes caretaker to the mute Edgar of the title, is practically a saint.

Now comes a third novel to join their ranks: A YEAR OF CATS AND DOGS, by Margaret Hawkins. In A YEAR, the middle-age narrator, MaryAnne, decides to “close down” after her boyfriend of ten years leaves. She does this by quitting her job, staying away from her friends and acquaintances, and generally severing all connections to the outside world. What this leaves her with is her cat, Clement, her dog, Bob, and, occasionally, her ailing father.

 

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Belle's Star

Review by Joan Schweighardt

The narrator in BELLE’S STAR is Belle, a smallish, reddish, farm dog bred to herd cattle and hence referred to as a “heeler.” We learn right away, in this 125-page book written for children ages 10 through 12, that Belle is perceptive, curious, and nervous in new situations—which is to say that kids who buy the book will relate to her immediately. Moreover, she is an awesome storyteller, which is no less than one would expect from a creation of award-winning novelist like Connie Gotsch.

 

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A Lion Called Christian

Review by Gloria Rapoport

This is a  lovely book that can be enjoyed by all members of the family from young readers to adults. It was originally published in 1971  and  has been  updated  , revised, and republished in 2009. It recounts the story of a lion cub  that was purchased by two young Australian men in 1969 after seeing him for sale at Harrod's department store in London. The adventures of Christian from the date of this sale until he is successfully rehabilitated to his natural home in Africa makes for quite an unusual  and heartwarming  tale. Thankfully , attitudes toward the trafficking and sale of wild animals  have changed  for the better since those days , possibly due to stories like these. These two young men have since become ardent conservationists due to a very special lion and their adventures with him. The book has wonderful photos and is an easy read.

A Lion Called Christian is by Anthony Bourke and John Rendall with a forward by George Adamson  of  Born Free.

 

Dewey

A heartwarming book for adult readers who love animal stories is "Dewey," by Vicki Myron with Bret Witter.  Dewey the cat was discovered in the returned book slot of the Spencer, Iowa Public Library, where he was  mysteriously deposited on a cold winter night.  He was just a tiny, frostbitten  kitten who wormed his way into the heart of the staff and became the Spencer library cat for the nineteen years of his long life. 

Vicki Myron, the director of the library, was a single mom with a challenging life who opened her heart to Dewey and was rewarded with his love, charm and special presence. Dewey seemed to have a special  talent  or knowing which of the library patrons most needed affection and companionship on any particular day and selected that patron for special attention. He soon became the beloved cat of the whole town and eventually his fame spread worldwide. His story, as recounted by Vicki Myron, will captivate you just as Dewey captivated all who crossed his path.  - Gloria Rapoport

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PRODUCT REVIEW: ARM & HAMMER'S ODOR ALERT CLUMPING LITTER
 
A representative of Arm & Hammer's new Odor Alert Clumping Litter, with Pre-Odor Indicators, sent Paws a box to check out.  Now, as many cat lovers know, it can be tough to tell one litter from another, although some seem to handle odors better than others.  And of course our feline friends are finicky, so you often have to go with a brand that they'll agree to use.
 
We tested this new product on our five "testers" here at Paws, and I have to say that we were pleasantly surprised.  Not only was there no hesitation to switch brands, but the litter really handled the odor of multiple cats well, and was easy to scoop and clean.
 
Here are some fun facts from the company: 
  • 92% of cat lovers agree that they consider their cat to be a apart of their family
  • Female cat lovers are significantly more likely than their male counterparts to clean the litter box more than once per week (61% vs. 34%).
Now is anyone surprised?
 
Arm & Hammer's new Odor Alert Clumping Litter is available at widespread distributors such as Wal-Mart, with a suggested retail price of $6.79, the 18 lb at $8.85 and 26 lb. at $12.99.


 

AMAZON DREAMING

The Amazon rainforest may well be one of the most fascinating places on the entire planet. With more than one third of all the animal and plant species in the world living there, its unparalleled biodiversity has been a source of enticement for many a scientist and adventurer throughout all time.

While some of us may never have the opportunity to explore the Amazon, author Gare Thompson has made it possible for us to enjoy a virtual exploration with his AMAZON JOURNEY: CRUISING THE RAIN FOREST  (ISBN: 0-7922-5951-3), another wonderful book from National Geographic Science Chapters.

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All About Ants
LARABEE

Every day Larabee gets up early and helps his owner, Mr. Bowman, who is a mail carrier, to deliver the mail. An earnest dog if ever there was one, he not only rides along in the mail truck and accompanies Mr. Bowman on all his foot routes, but he also helps to haul the mail bag, which is not always so easy for such a little pup.

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All About Ants
ALL ABOUT ANTS

ANTS ARE COOL, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT’S HOT!


This time of year, when it’s oh so hot and insects appear to rule the world, it’s easy, especially for the adults among us, to forget how cool ants are. If we see them only as nuisances from which we must protect our picnic baskets at all costs, the kids in our lives will miss out on learning about one of the world’s most incredible critters.

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HELLO, FISH! VISITING THE CORAL REEF

product2Kids who don’t like to get wet but want to know what goes on under those big waves generated by the deep blue sea can now visit a coral reef vicariously...
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NIGHT ANIMALS

product2The book explains, in straightforward language, why the animals within its pages prefer to be up and about when the rest of us are sound asleep...
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CATS STICKER BOOK

product3The cat stickers (six artists created the 90 cat images) are not only expressive and well-illustrated but also easy to peel and easy to place...

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