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Praise for The Five Lives of Our Cat Zook
"Rocklin’s characters are fully developed: readers will be invested. Set in Oakland, readers are also treated to a refreshingly authentic child’s view of a diverse city. The only imperfection in this novel is that it ends."
—Booklist, starred review
“Oona’s character is a combination of Harriet the Spy in curiosity and Anastasia in spunk. Another emotionally satisfying outing from Rocklin; hanky recommended.”
"Just as she did in One Day and One Amazing Morning on Orange Street, Rocklin intertwines her characters so smartly that the many coincidences and serendipitous events feel organic to the story. The story’s ending—bittersweet, inevitable, and true—offers much-needed catharsis for the family and for anyone who has ever loved a pet."
—The Horn Book
"This heartwarming family tale is filled with resilient and thoughtful characters who are willing to learn from their mistakes. Readers who enjoy the novels of Jeanne Birdsall and Leslie Crunch will appreciate this charming story."
—School Library Journal
"There is a strong sense of place in this loving story with the ending sure to generate some tears. This would make a strong library lesson extension activity."
—Library Media Connection
SCBWI’s Golden Kite Award for Fiction - 2012
Dorothy Canfield Fisher Book Award
Rebecca Caudill Young Readers’ Book Award
Posted May 23, 2013
How would you feel if your pet became very ill? Ten-year-old Oona Armstrong lives in an Oakland, CA, apartment with her mother Terri, five-year-old brother Fred, and their cat named Zook, which is short for Zucchini. Oona and Fred’s dad Max had died two years before from cancer. Nearby is O’Leary’s Pizza where the kids work to help bring customers in and they get to eat fried zucchini, the only vegetable Fred likes—and thus the cat’s name. Now Zook himself has become sick, so Oona comforts Fred by convincing him that the cat is only on the fifth of his nine lives and telling him some wild stories about some of the previous ones. Will Zook get better? What will happen to him?
Joanne Rocklin is the author of several books, including One Day and One Amazing Morning on Orange Street, Strudel Stories, For Your Eyes Only!, Three Smart Pals, and This Book is Haunted. The Five Lives of Our Cat Zook does use the words “pee,” with reference to both cats and people, and “poopy,” as well as a few common euphemisms. There are some vague references to believing in love, magic, and God. The concept of “karma” is mentioned, and one instance of drinking wine occurs. Mom’s new boyfriend, whom Oona resentfully calls Dylan the villain, is a musician who sports an earring. Many parents will probably not have much problem with most of these items.
However, some parents may demur at Oona’s penchant for telling whoppers, as she does when she tries to sneak Zook out of the vet’s office and bring him home because she feels that he can get better only with them. Although a distinction is made between simple fictional tales intended for amusement or entertainment and outright lies meant to deceive or hurt, the book may become the occasion for some discussion on the importance of always being honest and truthful. Otherwise, this is a warmhearted middle-grade novel about a loving family, and, aside from some of the things which I mentioned earlier, my basic reaction to it is primarily positive. Also, any child who has experienced the serious illness or loss of a beloved pet will certainly appreciate the drama of the story.
6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 17, 2013
Posted November 23, 2012
This book is great and if you are reading the book while listining to the song on the wing by owl city it makes the sad parts even sadder.
3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 23, 2012
Posted October 8, 2013
This is a good book for 3 reasons,1 it is a sunshine state book in my school,2 I love to read,3 I like cats.
2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 20, 2013
Posted April 4, 2013
Posted June 7, 2014
I think it's wonderful how the right books fall into our lives at the right time. I picked up the book for my daughter because she loves cats and the cat on the cover was adorable. Little did I know how much the author's words would touch our hearts. Oona attempts to deal with her father's death from cancer in many ways mirror my own daughter's journey, as she (and I) are figuring out how to go on without Daddy, who also died of cancer. Books that deal with this subject in such a thoughtful, and thought-provoking, way for children are too few. I'm so glad that this one fell into our lap. Anyone who appreciates the power of a good story, and the emotional tug of realizing that life still goes on after a great loss, will want to share this story with the kids in their life.
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 10, 2014
Posted December 8, 2013
Posted December 9, 2014
Posted July 30, 2013
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Posted April 29, 2014
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