The Five Lives of Our Cat ZookHardback
- Publisher: Abrams
- Format: Hardback | 218 pages
- Dimensions: 142mm x 196mm x 25mm | 340g
- Publication date: 1 April 2012
- Publication City/Country: New York, NY
- ISBN 10: 1419701924
- ISBN 13: 9781419701924
- Sales rank: 1,182,705
In this warmhearted middle-grade novel, Oona and her brother, Fred, love their cat Zook (short for Zucchini), but Zook is sick. As they conspire to break him out of the vet's office, convinced he can only get better at home with them, Oona tells Fred the story of Zook's previous lives, ranging in style from fairy tale to grand epic to slice of life. Each of Zook's lives has echoes in Oona's own family life, which is going through a transition she's not yet ready to face. Her father died two years ago, and her mother has started a relationship with a man named Dylan--whom Oona secretly calls "the villain." The truth about Dylan, and about Zook's medical condition, drives the drama in this loving family story. Praise for "The Five Lives of Our Cat Zook" STARRED REVIEW "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." --"Kirkus Reviews" "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" Awards SCBWI's Golden Kite Award for Fiction - 2012 Dorothy Canfield Fisher Book Award Rebecca Caudill Young Readers' Book Award
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Joanne Rocklin is the critically acclaimed author of several books, including "One Day and One Amazing Morning on Orange Street," which "School Library Journal" called "fascinating and thought-provoking . . . sweet and tart and sure to satisfy." She lives in Oakland, California.
By Wayne S. Walker 23 May 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.