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The Cats of Roxville Station

The Cats of Roxville Station

4.3 3
by Jean Craighead George

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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


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.

Editorial Reviews

Horn Book
. . . [readers] may want to investigate the four-footed society, unsuspected by humans, in their own backyards.
Children's Literature - Suzanna E. Henshon
Who can resist a book filled with lively cats? At the beginning of this novel, there is a detailed map of Roxville Station and the surrounding environment. Newbery Medalist Jean Craighead George takes readers on an intimate journey into the world of a group of cats that live at Roxville Station where they protect themselves from wild things and live side by side with each other. Will they ever find a real home, or will they spend the rest of their days listening to rumbling trains and the fleeting footsteps of passengers? Readers will quickly fall into this cat world, where felines fight for territory, hunt, and become prey for other animals. George draws readers in through the eyes of Rachet, a kitten who is kicked out of her house and ends up at the station, where she learns how to survive in the suburban wild. Mike is a boy who dreams of owning a cat and falls in love with Rachet. In My Side of the Mountain, Jean Craighead George brought a young boy's survival story to life; here, she takes readers on an enchanting journey through the psyche of feral cats. Reviewer: Suzanna E. Henshon, Ph.D.
School Library Journal

Gr 4-8

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

Kirkus Reviews
A cruel woman and her abusive children once owned Ratchet, a young, orange, female tabby. Once the children have gone off to school, the woman tosses Ratchet off a bridge near the Roxville Train Station. Ratchet survives and quickly integrates herself into the feral-cat community and the larger natural community in the area. Thirteen-year-old Mike would love to have a cat, but his foster mother, Mrs. Dibber, hates animals. From his first sighting of Ratchet, Mike knows they are meant to be special friends. As Mike slowly ingratiates himself with Ratchet, she survives a fox attack, fumigation, her first litter and developers who need the cats out of the way so they can improve the train station. Newbery winner and naturalist George packs a lot of natural information on species from mosquitoes to owls in this slim volume. There is no anthropomorphization of the cats; when Ratchet and the other cats "talk" it is with scent and body language. Pohrt's line drawings complement the text nicely. Cat lovers and George's fans will be happy she is back. (Fiction. 8-12)

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.12(w) x 7.78(h) x 0.47(d)
840L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

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.

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The Cats of Roxville Station 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
GKM3 More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.