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Oh yes, I loved the Doll People, more than I thought I would. It’s great also to recommend to families with young children who are looking for a book to read aloud together. And I get to review The Meanest Doll for my book review group, I’m looking forward to that.

A while back, Theresa recommended Varjak Paw by SF Said and illustrated by Dave McKean (known in the children’s librarian circle for illustrating Coraline and Gaiman’s creepy picture book, The Wolves in the Walls which I talked about here somewhere). Varjak Paw (it’s a chapter book) has strong cover art that I feel really expresses the character of Varjak, a Mesopotamian Blue cat. The caption on the cover, written in red, reads “This cat must learn to fight” … hello? I’m hooked. You want to know, need to know why this cat must fight. And fight he does but it is not just an action/adventure book with gory violence (though it is not for the easily squeamish either). Varjak learns The Way of his ancestor, Jalal, but he also learns how to survive on his own, how to be a friend, how to stand up for himself, to learn when enough is enough, and most important of all to succeed, how to Trust Yourself. I am not usually a fan of the anthropomorphic animal stories but this one is truly captivating. The story is just plain fantastic, simple in its style but intricate in its plot. And the illustrations compliment the book perfectly.

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