Dewey, the abandoned kitten who was left in the book drop of a small town Iowa library, has become a literary icon. For close to twenty years he was a loved mascot and friend for library patrons and shortly after his death, Vicki Myron, library director of the Spencer, Iowa Public Library, wrote a book detailing the great impact Dewey had on his town and cat lovers around the world. Dewey, the Small Town Library Cat Who Touched the World is a warm, inspiring read possibly suitable for a general audience, although Vicki does go into quite a bit of personal information that would not interest children. That is probably the reason for the children’s books that have followed. I especially liked the simple picture book Dewey the Library Cat as it made a great read aloud and its story illustrated how Dewey won the hearts of the Spencer children. Whenever I read that story to classes, I always had excited kids wanting to share their own pet stories.
Last fall I received an advanced reader’s copy of Vicki Myron’s follow up to the full length Dewey book. I didn’t get a chance to read it until recently. Called Dewey’s Nine Live, this book resulted from the hundreds of phone calls, emails, and letters Myron received after publication of the first book. She and co-author Bret Witter have selected nine stories that reveal how strong the bond between pet and human can be. In this mix are two more Dewey stories and seven stories of different cats. If you are a cat lover and feel sometimes (or always) that your cat understands your emotions and needs better than anyone else then this book is a must read. If you’re a non-pet owner like allergic me, then understanding how deep the connection can be will be more difficult. However, that said, I still enjoyed this touching book, often remembering the adorable kittens that I subjected to dress up and doll buggy rides many, many years ago (and pre-allergies). Thinking ahead to December, if you have a cat lover on your Christmas list, one of these books might be a perfect gift, perhaps even in an audio version.