‘The Traveling Cat Chronicles’ by Hiro Arikawa Is a Spectacularly Charming Tale Narrated by the Cat and his Rescuer

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“The Traveling Cat Chronicles” by Hiro Arikawa is a story narrated by a cheeky cat whose pert narrative is touching, humorous, and — to those who know cats — pure feline. This is the story of Nana, the supremely wise cat, and Satoru, the supremely wise human who befriends and rescues Nana. Or does Nana rescue Satoru?

Contained in this charming book are stories about Satoru’s life as he travels to visit old friends in search of a new home for Nana. He tells each friend that although he loves Nana dearly, he must find a new home for his beautiful cat. He doesn’t explain why, although readers will begin to suspect the reason by the middle of the book.

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Don’t Miss ‘The Storm Runner’ by J. C. Cervantes; the First Book in a New ‘Rick Riordan Presents’ Series

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J. C. Cervantes is the talented author who has written the first book in a trilogy about Mayan gods and the kid who is the child of one of them. It’s Rick Riordan’s “Lightning Thief” taken south to Mexico (and New Mexico). In “The Storm Runner,” Zane Obispo, who limps because one leg is shorter than the other, discovers that he is godborn, the child of one of the Mayan gods. In fact, that explains his leg because as one character tells him, humans and the gods don’t mix perfectly.

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‘Love Can Be: A Literary Collection About Our Animals’ Is Filled with Beautiful Stories about the Creatures Who Fill our Lives with Beauty

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“Love Can Be” is a touching and creative collection of writing about animals and our connections to them. The contributors include Joyce Carol Oates, Delia Ephron, S. E. Hinton, and Reyna Grande. The stories vary in content from Dean Koontz sharing a story about his much-loved dog Trixie, to Reyna Grande discussing monarch butterflies and comparing their long migration to her life. Both stories share the beauty and mystery of our love for animals.

Each story, those which are not stories about beloved pets and those that are, share a sense of wonder about the world around us and the animals that inhabit them. Those animals whose lives intersect ours enrich us through that interaction from raccoons being saved to frogs and turtles in danger on roadways.

One story, by Wade Rouse, made me cry. He shares the power of dogs to heal us, and his story about rescuing animals and how they repay that good deed many times over is a truth that those who rescue hear over and over. “That dog got me through my cancer treatment” is a statement that I have been told from at least two people who adopted dogs I’d rescued. One was a puppy mill survivor, Irving, and the other a terrier mix whom I found wandering down the sidewalk in Highland Park, unwanted and ungroomed. Rouse’s story is about his father-in-law who had just been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, and, ignoring all advice and warnings about getting someone a dog for Christmas, they got him a black Lab mix. It was beautiful, tear-jerkingly beautiful — both the story and the writing. Just like love can be.

Love can be many things, and with animals, all things are possible. One thing that is sure is that “Love Can Be: A Literary Collection About our Animals” would be a perfect gift for any animal lover on your holiday gift list. Truly.

The Kirkpatrick Foundation is donating all net proceeds of this book to animal charities in Oklahoma as well as honoraria donated to the contributor’s selected animal charities. Dean Koontz, for example, is a huge supporter of Canine Companions for Independence (CCI), an organization that supplies service dogs to the handicapped and facility dogs to those who work in hospitals and schools. (I attended training for my facility dog at the Oceanside branch of CCI, to which Koontz has donated generously.) His much loved dogs were CCI dogs who were released for various reasons and adopted.

The Kirkpatrick Foundation’s Safe & Humane initiative is comprised of people who care about the welfare of animals and understand that the wellbeing of animals is a key component of community well-being. They are committed to making Oklahoma the safest and most humane place to be an animal by the year 2032. Learn more about that here.

Please note: This review is based on the advance reader’s copy provided by Wunderkind PR for review purposes.

Andy Carpenter is ‘Rescued’ In this Latest Mystery by David Rosenfelt

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If you’ve never read an “Andy Carpenter Mystery” by David Rosenfelt, “Rescued” is certainly a fine place to start — because this entry, the seventeenth in the series, is just as entertaining, suspenseful, and laugh-out-loud funny as all the earlier sixteen.

Rosenfelt’s dry and self-effacing sense of humor is, as usual, on display on virtually every page of “Rescued.” This time, the wealthy, super-bright, and self-confessed rather lazy lawyer, Andy Carpenter, is persuaded to defend an ex-cop who’s been accused of murder. The ex-cop is also the ex-lover of Andy’s wife Laurie, who is herself an expert investigator.

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‘Squirm’ by Carl Hiaasen Is Yet Another Superb Middle Grade Adventure for Animal Lovers

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Carl Hiaasen’s adult books are crazy-wonderful, and his middle grade novels are just as crazy, but much more child-appropriate. They are crazy fun, crazy fabulous, crazily filled with wonderful animals, and wonderfully filled with crazy characters.

In this novel, which takes place both in Florida and Montana, Billy Dickens is the main character. He narrates the tale of his journey to find his father, and along the way he finds an unexpected extended family, performs some hero-worthy exploits, and develops appreciation for his quirky parents.

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Florida dogs abandoned in rural shelter desperate for rescue or they may be killed; shelter is packed

There are 39 dogs in Sebring, Florida who have a deadline. That means that if they are not adopted or pulled by rescue before then, they are in danger of being killed. Don’t blame the shelter — blame those who dump their dogs with no thought of what will become of them. These dogs are wonderful, and the shelter is very transparent about what they do and don’t know. They often know if the dogs will not get along with other dogs and cats and will indicate that. Many of these dogs have lived outside and never known a soft bed, while others were family dogs discarded when they became inconvenient.

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‘We Don’t Eat Our Classmates’ by Ryan T. Higgins Is a Hilarious Picture Book for Pre-School-Age Readers

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In “We Don’t Eat Our Classmates,” talented author Ryan T. Higgins explores what it would be like if a dinosaur, specifically a very carnivorous T. Rex, attended school. Penelope the T. Rex was ready to start. Her dad had made her lunch, three hundred tuna fish sandwiches. What she was not ready for, though, was the fact that her classmates were human children.

As any self-respecting T. Rex knows, children are delicious. So Penelope ate them. Her teacher grew angry and insisted that she spit them out immediately. She did. The children were not happy. Penelope was not happy. Going to school with delicious snacks available was just more than the precocious dinosaur could stand.

But one day, in a hilarious turn-around, Penelope found out what it feels like to be the one on the dinner plate, and she didn’t care for it at all. Higgins entertains readers — young and old — with his trademark clever twist that will keep his fans loving each and every picture book he writes. Kids will love this one, and their parents will, too.

Please note: This review is based on the final, hardcover book provided by Disney-Hyperion, the publisher, for review purposes.

‘A Borrowing of Bones’ by Paula Munier Is an Action-Filled Murder Mystery

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Who can resist a mystery with charismatic working dogs galore and even a cat rescue? With “A Borrowing of Bones,” author Paula Munier delivers a perfect paean to those who work to keep our wilderness safe (our forest rangers), our military veterans, and both dogs and cats who come into our lives and calm us down, give us unconditional love, and keep us warm on cold nights. Some, like the incredible dogs in this story, protect us.

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‘In Your Shoes’ by Donna Gephart Is a Story About Finding Friends and Learning There Aren’t Always Happy Endings

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With “In Your Shoes,” author Donna Gephart teaches middle grade readers that while things may be going wonderfully at one moment, life is a series of ups and downs. And sometimes, in fiction just as in real life, you don’t get second chances.

There are two main characters in this story about children who aren’t necessarily perfect on the outside, but are perfectly wonderful on the inside.

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‘The Law of Finders Keepers’ by Sheila Turnage Is the Last of the Mo & Dale Mystery Series

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“The Case of Finders Keepers” by Sheila Turnage will keep fans of Mo LoBeau thrilled at the details that are unveiled about Mo’s Upstream Mother and Blackbeard’s treasure that they seek in this fourth book.

Moses, so named because she was found after a hurricane swept her into the arms of her rescuer on a huge wave of water and a large sign, has been writing to and searching for her Upstream Mother for a while. She writes to her, but luckily, Mo has the love of Miss Lana and the Colonel which whom she lives. They run a café where Mo serves and impudently garners big tips.

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