Five Lives of our Cat Zook
"The vet had patted me on the shoulder and said he understood.
But, as I said, that vet isn't God. He's just a plain old human, who
eats and sleeps and scratches an itch, like everyone else. A human
who really doesn't like being yelled at, and who may not do his very,
very best work when he sees Zook. Because when he sees Zook, he will
think about Zook's owner with the big mouth and feel super annoyed."
Our family cats played a huge role in my children's early
years. They expeienced a lot of love from their faithful companions.
They built precious memories with them. Their first experiences of
loss of loved ones revolved around the deaths of Murray (a ginger and
white tiger) and Sapphire (a dainty Siamese). Many families with
animal companions experience this bittersweetness. Joanne Rocklin's
Five Lives of Our Cat Zook explores this dynamic sensitively.
Zook (short for Zucchini) is a very important member of Oona and
Fred's family. The kids had found him all starving for food and
attention and lured him into their home with a trail of fried
zucchini. Oona had thrown out the tag with Zook's address. Anyone
who would starve a cat and shoot it with a bb gun doesn't deserve a
Sadly Zook's health has started to decline. His kidneys are
failing. Oona, who is all of ten, reassures Fred, who is only five,
that Zook will get well because cats have nine lives.
But time is not on their side.
The loss of a companion animal is one of the hardest experiences
of many people's childhoods. This poignant and sensitive book is a
school and public library must acquire. Guidance counselors, put it
on your summer reading lists.
On a personal note, Orono Public Library had a spooktacular children's
Halloween party. Crafts, stories, and fortune telling captivated our
younger patrons. The community room with treasured seasonal tv shows
and cider and cookies gave kids a nice place to take breaks. I, of
course, costumed as an organic tomato, was paparazzi.
The evening was extra special for one girl. Living out in the
boonies, she wouldn't get to trick or treat. The party made her
A great big shout out goes out to the librarians and volunteers who
made the party a night to remember.
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