We have a special guest reviewer with us today!
Usually, our cats – Flame and Midnight – listen quietly to the stories I read aloud to my kids, but to our surprise, Flame, our spirited boy, has been insisting on providing his own two cents on this book. So, it is our pleasure to provide you (below) with a transcript of the interview my kids and I had with Flame, our beloved pet cat.
Author: Stanley & Katrina
Year published: 2012
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Number of pages: 86
Recommended age: 5+
Reviewed by: Renee and Flame (Mother and Pet)
Purchase (available as a 99 cent e-book):
1. Hi Flame! We are pretty excited that you have decided to share your thoughts with us about “The Perpetual Papers of the Pack of Pets” today. Can you tell us a bit about yourself before we start? I am a two year old black cat who likes to run around the house as fast as I can, jumping on every piece of furniture along the way, and ending up flat up against the window screen hanging like a spider on the wall. Speaking of spiders, those things are really fun to play with, but they don’t talk much. I learned a long time ago that if I give lovey-dovey eyes to people, jump on their lap, and do this thing they call “purring”, that I can get pretty much anything I want. Hang on, I see a fly…
2. Can you tell us about the pets in your house? Well, there’s the smallest one (I think it’s a boy) that likes to grab me and sling me over his shoulder to carry me around the house. I let him do that because I know if I hurt him the really tall girl will call me a “bad kitty” and that sometimes hurts my feelings. Besides, she’s the one who brings me food, so I have to be nice to her. Then, there’s another smaller girl who is my snuggle buddy in the morning. I love that time of the day. There’s another bigger pet who I think is kind of the boss of the house. He’s always telling me “Flame, don’t jump there”, “Flame, get outta there”, “Flame, blah, blah, blah”. But I just give him lovey-dovey eyes and then it’s all good again.
3. Actually, we meant “pets” – you know, more like YOU? Oh, sorry about that. Well, there’s my sister Midnight. She’s a scaredy-cat and never does anything wrong. She never gets in trouble, but she also never has fun. I like to jump on her and chase her around the house. She’s way more fun than a spider! Then there’s this small weird thing living in a bowl. It does kissy-faces and waves its arms at me all day. It doesn’t seem to have any legs though and it sits in water, like, ALL THE TIME. What IS that thing? [Um, it’s a goldfish, Flame; like Scales in the book?] Oh, can I eat him? [No.]
4. What do you think about Katrina? Well, to be honest, I think she’s a lot like Midnight. It sounds like Katrina thinks she’s smarter than Stanley. I mean, she calls herself Master of Wisdom and Knowledge. That is soooo what Midnight would say about herself.
5. What do you think about Stanley? Stanley is my kind of cat. [He’s a dog, Flame.] Really? Oh, well, am I a dog? [No, you are a cat, Flame.] Oh, because I’m a lot like Stanley. You know the part where he’s running around and around in the snow? Well, I totally want to do THAT!
6. What was your favorite part of the story? My favorite part of the story was what happened at the pet show. I don’t think I would have cared if I won. It just would have been fun to run around and play tag with the other cats there. Midnight sometimes naps too much, but I want run around and chase things all day long! Oh, I see something moving … I’ll be back. [Sigh…]
7. Are there any parts that didn’t make sense to you? Yes, I don’t understand why Stanley was scared of Mandy the bird and why Katrina said she doesn’t like birds. WHAT?! I LOVE birds. They are something to chase and I think they would taste really good.
8. Who do you think would like this book? I think Midnight would like it because she’s just like Katrina. I also think guinea pigs would like it because there’s a guinea pig in this story. [Do you think boys and girls like Dominic and Danielle would like it?] Right! That’s their names – my memory is not too good, you know. Yes, I remember that they laughed ALOT when we read this book.
What’s it About? The stage is set when Katrina von Cat the Master of Wisdom and Knowledge is fed up with “dog” (whose name, Stanley, she finally discovers after three years of living under the same roof) who is eating her food. Through a series of hilarious letters sent back and forth between Katrina and Stanley, and punctuated by the voice of a narrator who provides play-by-play action of the misdeeds of the cat and the dog, the reader is entertained by the roller coast ride that is the love/hate relationship between the two. While Katrina and Stanley have much to disagree about, there is one thing they agree on: participating in a pet show is a BAD IDEA. Dive into this whimsical journey to discover how the pets outsmart their owners.
My Thoughts: The Perpetual Papers of the Pack of Pets is a playful parable about the puckish pairing of a pompous pussycat and a perplexed pup. Phew, try saying THAT ten times fast! Stanley and Katrina bring to life the inner musings of what we, as pet owners, have suspected all along: that cats and dogs are up to no good and are constantly trying to outwit and outsmart their owners. Further, the perspectives are exactly how I would imagine them to be: uppity, snobby Katrina, the gray tabby cat and the more laid-back black Labrador Rottweiler mix, Stanley, ready to follow Katrina’s lead and happy to run circles in the snow.
I really enjoyed the format of the book which uses a series of letters written by Katrina and Stanley to each other. Ok, so one shouldn’t get too stuck on asking how exactly it is that animals can write letters. This book is meant to be absurd – it’s written by animals, remember? Absurdity definitely has its place and in the case of The Perpetual Papers of the Pack of Pets it is perfectly pertinent and appropriate (oops! There I go again with the alliteration!) When necessary, a narrator, bearing witness as an outsider to Stanley and Katrina’s shenanigans, weighs in with their perspective. I must admit that I’m left wondering, “Who is this narrator?” Hmmm…
Alas, the story proceeds and Katrina and Stanley come to know and understand each other a bit better. One might even argue that they learn to “get along” – more or less. What we do see in the progression of their relationship is that when they share a negative experience (e.g., the visit to the vet or the training and participation in the pet show), they have the ability to sympathise with one another. And, isn’t life just like that? When people share experiences, it brings them closer together, doesn’t it?
The Perpetual Papers of the Pack of Pets is filled with clever passages and lines that had us laughing out loud. I enjoyed the passages where each pet points out what humans hear versus what they are trying to say. Here is an excerpt from Stanley’s passage:
What the humans hear: Woof, ruff, woof.
What I was saying: I like bones. La, la.
Another example of the quirkiness contained in this book is when Stanley (and the reader) meets the Wise Cat Council for the first time:
“What is the Wise Cat Council, really?” you ask. Well, I will tell you: A ball of yarn, a half-eaten mouse, a feather, a dog bone, a toy mouse, a dust bunny, and a ball.
This book is filled with twists and turns, funny moments, quirky dialogue, and, ok, maybe a few non-sequiturs thrown in, but it is just so much fun!
What we did feel was missing, however, were illustrations. I think that more illustrations would have raised the entire book up a notch. Quirky, fun pictures of Stanley and Katrina in action would go a long way in this case. For example, seeing the duo decked out in their costumes for the pet show would have been really helpful. That being said, the “Pet Paper” at the end which had photos of the “winners” and a little blurb about the outcome for Stanley and Katrina was adorable! Perhaps the authors could entertain the possibility of illustrating the next book themselves?
My bottom line: The Perpetual Papers of the Pack of Pets is quirky, silly, and fun. It is a read-aloud book (in my opinion) that young children would enjoy with its many opportunities for mimicking voices .
Who Would Like This Book? I think any child with a vivid imagination, who wonders what is going on inside animals’ heads would enjoy this book. I think it would function particular well as a read-aloud book to children as young as 5 years old.
Grown-up Rating: ★★★★☆
Grown-up Rating: ★★★★☆
*** This book was provided to us free-of-charge by the authors exchange for an honest review.***
About The Authors:
Katrina von Cat the Master of Wisdom and Knowledge is an eight-year-old grey tabby cat who loves her toy mouse. Stanley is a three-year-old black Labrador/Rottweiler mix who does his best to ignore Katrina. Katrina enjoys treats, naps and bossing the dog around. Stanley enjoys snow, attention and turkey. They would love to tell you where they live, but all they know is that they live in a tan house.
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**Be sure to visit Stanley and Katrina for a chance to win a Skype session with the authors of “The Perpetual Papers of the Pack of Pets” during the Kid Lit Giveaway Hop.**
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