The Cats of Roxville Station

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Overview


Rachet was thrown into a river to drown. But she claws up the riverbank and finds a home with the feral cats living by the Roxville train station. Amid foxes, raccoons, owls, and hostile humans, the cats fight for territory, hunt, and are hunted. Mike, a foster child, lives near the station. He spots Rachet and sets his heart on befriending her. But Mike must learn to ?speak? the language of cats to gain wily Rachet?s trust. This gorgeous novel from two-time Newbery medalist Jean Craighead George offers insight ...
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Overview


Rachet was thrown into a river to drown. But she claws up the riverbank and finds a home with the feral cats living by the Roxville train station. Amid foxes, raccoons, owls, and hostile humans, the cats fight for territory, hunt, and are hunted. Mike, a foster child, lives near the station. He spots Rachet and sets his heart on befriending her. But Mike must learn to ?speak? the language of cats to gain wily Rachet?s trust. This gorgeous novel from two-time Newbery medalist Jean Craighead George offers insight into feline behavior as it explores the wonder of friendship and the natural world hiding among us.
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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)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780525421405
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/14/2009
  • Pages: 192
  • Age range: 9 - 11 Years
  • Lexile: 840L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 7.76 (w) x 5.80 (h) x 0.71 (d)

Meet the Author

Jean Craighead George is the author of more than one hundred books for young people, including the Newbery Award-winning Julie of the Wolves and My Side of the Mountain. She lives in Chappaqua, New York.

Tom Pohrt is the renowned illustrator of several bestselling children's books. He lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 29, 2011

    Recommended Read

    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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 29, 2011

    Recommended Read!

    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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2009

    The Cats of Roxville Station

    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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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