Dewey (by Vicki Myron)

I'd never heard of Vicky Myron. Perhaps more surprisingly, I had never heard of Dewey Readmore Books, the hero of this autobiography. But I was delighted when a friend gave it to me some time ago, and finally picked it up to read a couple of months ago.

'Dewey' is the title, with subtitle 'The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World'. I only read a little at a time, fairly randomly. It was easy to pick up and put down again. But overall, I loved this book. It probably helps that I am a huge fan of both cats and books, but even those who don't like either can scarcely fail to be moved by this delightful true story.

Dewey was found as a tiny kitten, shivering on a cold night in a small town in Iowa called Spencer. He was adopted by the library... or, as gradually became clear, he adopted the library and its visitors. Most of all, though, he adopted Vicki Myron, the library director. She didn't have an easy life, and in many ways her relationship with Dewey kept her from going crazy.

I wasn't sure how an entire book could be written about one cat - but it works extremely well. The writing is good; pictures are painted of this small town and its problems as well as the way Dewey revolutionised the library, and crept into the hearts of all who knew him. And there are some wonderful photographs including the gorgeous one on the front cover.

As was inevitable, Dewey grew elderly - indeed, he was plagued by medical problems in later life, so it's quite surprising he reached the most respectable age of 19. Unsurprisingly, the ending brought a tear to my eye. Saying goodbye to a much-loved animal is never easy, and Dewey was from all accounts a most remarkable cat. This book is a fitting tribute, which I would recommend to anyone.

Note that there is also an abridged version of this intended for young teenagers; however I don't recommend that since most children from the age of about ten would have no trouble reading the original.

Review copyright Sue's Book Reviews, 10th May 2010

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