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Catcall Hardcover – October 14, 2008


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 720L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: David Fickling Books; First Edition edition (October 14, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385751648
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385751643
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.8 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,754,712 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4–9—Writing in the voice of a smart, sensitive 13-year-old boy, Newbery tells the story of a blended family whose members share a sense of love and purpose that carries them through difficult times. The birth of a new baby is a happy occasion and the Bowmans, or, as they like to call themselves, the Bowpersons, rejoice when baby Jennie joins her half brothers, Jamie and Josh. Both boys experience angst over the attention being paid to her; for Josh, the feelings are normal and easily superseded by his love for his sister. However, for Jamie, the addition of Jennie to his home with his mother and stepfather, combined with the announcement that his father and his girlfriend and her son are moving in together, pushes him into selective mutism. As the story unfolds, Josh's well-developed voice evokes the love he and Jamie feel from all three parents, while expressing the feelings of children and teens when they have to deal with changing families. Throughout, Josh's fascination with cats large and small, tame and wild, is developed through his inserts of facts and drawings in his "Book of Cats." In addition to the likable characters, the story provides an example of people working through problems without yelling or abuse. It is refreshing to read about this loving family, reminiscent of those created by Madeleine L'Engle.—Wendy Smith-D'Arezzo, Loyola College, Baltimore, MD
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From Booklist

Josh is fascinated by cats—all kinds of cats; in fact, he keeps a Book of Cats, a scrapbook, actually, in which he records feline facts and pastes postcards and pictures from magazines. So why is it his younger brother, Jamie, to whom a lion at the zoo speaks? Or so the boy claims before he then stops speaking himself and begins behaving as if he has been possessed by the lion’s spirit. Josh is baffled and troubled by his brother’s increasingly erratic behavior and by the many changes that continue to visit his family. The explanation that Newbery ultimately offers for Jamie’s behavior is psychologically sound but seems a bit facile and almost flat after the many elements of seeming magical realism that she earlier introduces into her story. Nevertheless, her characters are sympathetic and well realized, and the elements of psychological suspense will hold readers’ interest as her story unfolds. Grades 5-7. --Michael Cart

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Josh and his younger brother Jamie like to call themselves the "two Js," their dad's special nickname for them. They're about as close and loving as two siblings can be. But then their dad has to go and move in with his girlfriend Kim and her son Kevin. So have they now been replaced by the "two Ks"? To make matters more confusing, the boys' mother has gotten remarried to Mike, who's a great stepdad, and they've just had a new baby named Jennie. So are they now the two Js, or the three Js?

Despite their rapidly changing family geography, Josh and Jamie have always stuck together --- until one day, when formerly bright, funny Jamie retreats into himself, refusing to talk and shutting out the world. The boy who used to laugh at comedy programs on TV now is obsessed with a lion that he saw at a wildlife park, to the point that he insists on his family's calling him Leo.

Josh is pretty concerned about Jamie's unusual behavior and scared that the two Js aren't what they used to be. But Josh's love for his brother, and his own expertise on lions and other cats, might be just what Jamie needs to cope with the bewildering changes that have entered their lives.

All too often, stories dealing with children of divorce have an overriding negative tone, with parents and stepparents fighting and screaming among themselves, leaving the kids to sort out their emotions in the midst of a confusing environment. Josh's blended family, by contrast, is supportive, loving and ultimately positive. Linda Newbery's novel is refreshing in acknowledging the challenges of family change while still portraying a family whose love remains a steady and dependable constant in the children's lives.
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