Thursday, September 24, 2009

Cat-alog Cat: Dewey: There's a Cat in the Library by Vicki Myron and Brett Witter

Every night people left books in return box of library in the small town of Spencer, Iowa. Funny books, big books, truck books, pig books.--they left them all.

But one night
on the coldest night of the year
someone left a strange surprise...
a tiny kitten.

After a warming bath, the dirty, brown, half-frozen kitten emerges with beautiful fluffy orange fur and a heartwarming purr.

"I'm going to keep you," said Librarian Vicki. "I already love you.

We'll name you Dewey Readmore Books. You can live here and be the library cat."

But Dewey is just a kitten, and kittens really only know how to play. He catnaps on the newspapers in the periodical collection, rides the book cart while the clerks shelve the day's returns, and pushes any pens he can find off tables and desks. He climbs and rummages in open drawers and tries to escape from little boys who rub his fur the wrong way. He delights the story hour circle with a visit, and even lets babies touch his tender ears. It is all just great fun for a curious kitten.

But then Dewey has a moment of truth.

"The library is a wonderful place," Dewey said. "But I'm tired of being pulled and carried around upside down. I'm not just a cat in the library. I am a library cat, and I'm ninety-two percent convinced that that is the reason I'm around.

I'm going to do it," said Dewey. "I'm going to help people."

And then one day he discovers his true powers. Dewey has just crammed himself sleepily into a tiny box, his favorite napping place, when he hears a sound that wakes him right back up.

He heard a heavy sigh.

He saw a little girl, a sad little girl, on the other side of the library, reading all by herself.

He climbed up close and looked at her. She looked the other way. He sniffed her hand. She wouldn't play. He knocked her mittens to the floor. She let them stay.

Then Dewey had his best idea yet. "Silly always works!" he thought.

Dewey wiggles inside the little girl's purple jacket and sticks his head out of the sleeve. The little girl can't help giggling.

"You look like a fuzzy hot dog in a purple bun! I love you, Dewey Readmore Books."

"This is it," Dewey thought, as he nestled into her lap and began to purr. "I'm a real library cat now."

Author Vicki Myron has cut the opening chapters of her best-selling Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World down to picture-book size for the youngest readers, and her just-published Dewey: There's a Cat in the Library!, illustrated glowingly with Steve James' endearingly realistic art, is a wonderful introduction to this unforgettable real-life character. Although her best-selling memoir was aimed at adults, children who have seen this newest book will enjoy short readings from the longer book and will doubtless look forward to the next in the picture-book exploits of this world-famous feline.

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