The Cats of Roxville Stationby Jean Craighead George
Rachet the cat was cruelly thrown in a river to drown, but she escapes and finds a home with the feral cats living by the Roxville train station. As Rachet learns to live with the cats and other animals, Mike, a local foster child, spots her and decides to befriend her. But Mike must learn to ?speak? the language of cats to gain Rachet?s trust. This gorgeous novel from celebrated author Jean Craighead George offers insight into feline behavior as it explores the wonder of friendship and the natural world hiding among us.
A cat survives a drowning attempt and makes her new home among a community of feral cats. Rachet also joins the wider natural community of foxes, raccoons, skunks, and owls; yet, her every thought, every move, is in line with natural feline behavior. Even Mike, the orphan boy who names Rachet and would love to adopt her, is characterized without sentimentality. He identifies with the cat's survival instinct and is learning to speak cat in his attempt to win her trust, which makes him seem remarkably enlightened compared to the other humans in the story. While George is consistent in her portrayal of the cats as creatures dictated by an instinctual standard of behavior, the book at times is too much science lesson and not often enough story. Pohrt's black-and-white illustrations provide a softer look at the felines, often catching them in the unguarded moments that cat lovers adore: rolling on their backs, enjoying a cozy bed, contemplating a blade of grass. Despite its attractive, almost bucolic cover, the story will appeal more to nonfiction readers than to fans of animal stories.-Kara Schaff Dean, Walpole Public Library, MA
Meet the Author
"I write for children. Children are still in love with the wonders of nature, and I am too. So I tell them stories about a boy and a falcon, a girl and an elegant wolf pack, about owls, weasels, foxes, prairie dogs, the alpine tundra, the tropical rain forest. And when the telling is done, I hope they will want to protect all the beautiful creatures and places."
Jean Craighead George was born in a family of naturalists. Her father, mother, brothers, aunts and uncles were students of nature. On weekends they camped in the woods near their Washington, D.C. home, climbed trees to study owls, gathered edible plants and made fish hooks from twigs. Her first pet was a turkey vulture. In third grade she began writing and hasn't stopped yet. She has written over 100 books.
Her book, Julie of the Wolves won the prestigious Newbery Medal, the American Library Association's award for the most distinguished contribution to literature for children, l973. My Side of the Mountain, the story of a boy and a falcon surviving on a mountain together, was a 1960 Newbery Honor Book. She has also received 20 other awards.
She attended Penn State University graduating with a degree in Science and Literature. In the 1940s she was a reporter for The Washington Post and a member of the White House Press Corps. After her children were born she returned to her love of nature and brought owls, robins, mink, sea gulls, tarantulas - 173 wild animals into their home and backyard. These became characters in her books and, although always free to go, they would stay with the family until the sun changed their behavior and they migrated or went off to seek partners of their own kind.
When her children, Twig, Craig and Luke, were old enough to carry their own backpacks, they all went to the animals. They climbed mountains, canoed rivers, hiked deserts. Her children learned about nature and Jean came home and to write books. Craig and Luke are now environmental scientists and Twig writes children's books, too.
One summer Jean learned that the wolves were friendly, lived in a well-run society and communicated with each other in wolf talk -- sound, sight, posture, scent and coloration. Excited to learn more, she took Luke and went to the Naval Arctic Research Laboratory in Barrow, Alaska, where scientists were studying this remarkable animal. She even talked to the wolves in their own language. With that Julie of the Wolves was born. A little girl walking on the vast lonesome tundra outside Barrow, and a magnificent alpha male wolf, leader of a pack in Denali National Park were the inspiration for the characters in the book. Years later, after many requests from her readers, she wrote the sequels, Julie and Julie's Wolf Pack.
She is still traveling and coming home to write. In the last decade she has added two beautiful new dimensions to her words beautiful full-color picture book art by Wendell Minor and others and - music. Jean is collaborating with award-winning composer, Chris Kubie to bring the sounds of nature to her words.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews
Set in a suburb of New York, The Cats of Roxville Station, takes the reader through a journey of Ratchet, a house-cat, that was tossed into the Olga River, in hopes that she would drown. Upon her survival, Ratchet has to acclimate to outdoor life as a farel cat, drawing attention to the theme of "one must do what it takes to survive in life". Mike, a foster child, happens to see Ratchet on his way to school as he passes the train station and wishes he could take her home, but he knows that his foster mother, Mrs. Dibber, would never allow it. The story takes twist and turns educating the reader on survival skills of various animals as well as how Mike makes numerous attempts to befriend Ratchet, to claim as his own. Although this is a factious story, George has done a great job embedding elements of science throughout, such as the migration of the monarch butterfly and what is found in owl pellets. This book would be an interesting read for any lover of science.
This was a good book if you like animals, especially cats. George really was able to show you how cats think and live. Especially recommended for animal lovers.