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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 28, 2011
I am thrilled to add my name to the list of adults that have enjoyed this book.

I went to one of Mr. Gibbs NJ Authors network events and thoroughly enjoyed listening to him speak. His sense of humor and enjoyment of what he was doing led me to examine his book and helped me decide to buy it 'for my children'. After pre-reading it myself I was happy I did.

I was quickly drawn into the book and after chapter one I put down the other book I was reading to focus on Fur Face. I loved the characters in this story and could easily see my own cats leaving messes for my kids to be fall guys as Snowy does to Billy. The quirks of Snowy the cat and his perspective on the world had me smiling and chuckling throughout the book. I also loved Billy's attempts at looking normal to his parents while being swept up in an adventure with a talking cat. I must add a quick word on Mr. Tinkles the sensitive gorilla who makes an appearance, I loved him and wish there had been a bit more of him in the book.

I have started reading this to my eight and ten year old girls and they are becoming fans as well. I will be on the look out for the sequel that was hinted at by Mr. Gibbs.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 13, 2011
Billy Euston has lived in London for all his life - and now has to move to some place called Little Chumberry, just because of his dad's new job. And as if this wasn't enough, the first night in his new bed he wakes up just to hear someone talking. In his room. And this someone ... is a cat. Snowy. A very sarcastic cat. But then you need to be sarcastic when you're a black cat called Snowy, aren't you? Despite all, Snowy and Billy become friends quickly and before he knows, Billy's involved in a big adventured with a talking cat (only he can hear), a talking fox with a tin hat (only he can hear) and someone who's really, really messing up with science ...

I quite enjoyed this book, even though it reminded me of Felidae somehow. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing. I first was a little confused by the first chapter; it took me several pages to figure out whose point of view was taken there. But once I got into the story, it was pretty nice. I laughed quite a bit about Snowy, about some really lovely references, about Snowy, again, this time with frogs. I especially loved Snowy's encounter with the (obviously not very smart) elephant lady. Brilliant. This book sometimes tend to be weird, but in a very good way. The characters are really likeable and the basic plot is interesting. The only thing I didn't like was that there maybe was a little too much plot, too many ideas, fit into too little pages. There were two main tasks for our heroes, finding Razor's family and finding out what happened to both Snowy and Razor that made them talk. Even though they belong together very closely, it got all meddled up a little sometimes. The end seemed a bit rushed and I was left with the feeling that some things were unresolved. I am not even sure they were, it just felt this way. And Snowy sometimes felt more like a human turned into a cat, than a real cat. I can't even put my finger on what exactly caused this.

Apart from those minor drawbacks, I can really recommend the book, even though I (female, 31) most likely am far away from the reader this was aimed at. Which didn't matter in the end, because it was good fun. And that's what books should be, right?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 4, 2010
Let me start off by saying that I loved this book. I don't read a lot of middle-grade or YA fiction so I'm straying into territory I haven't explored since I was a youngster but I was hooked pretty much halfway through Chapter 1.

The story centers around a black cat named Snowy (or Roland, depending on who did the naming) and his budding relationship with a 13-year-old human boy named Billy Euston, who has recently moved from London to a small English Village that I want to live in too. Snowy can speak Human but only Billy can understand him. Snowy also has a thing for cola, chips and bendy straws. However, this is no normal boy-meets-cat story.

Snowy convinces Billy to help him find out what happened to the family of a local fox. Razor, the patriarch of the fox family, wears a metal helmet courtesy of two scientists who kidnapped him and his family and began experimenting on them for purposes of mind control. Razor escaped but needs help finding his family.

Soon we are drawn into a plot of animal-napping, experimentation and exploitation. Billy, with help from his new friend Carmen, the niece of "Daft Aggie" - a former adventuress and owner of Safari Adventure amusement park, seek to solve the mystery of Razor's family and find out the secrets of the Safari Adventure.

The story is engaging and the characters, human and non-human alike, sympathetic. Several times I found myself laughing aloud and I also adored Snowy's Indiana Jones references. In addition, although the ending answers our questions, not everything is wrapped up in a nice, neat, homey package and I thought this added depth and realism to the story. All in all, this is no run-of-the-mill talking cat story but was definitely a fun (and funny) fantasy adventure.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 21, 2010
I really hope Mr. Gibbs will get this book published in - well, book form. Why do I say this? It's not just because I find it tough to read on a screen; it's because I'm a librarian, and this would be such fun for reluctant boy readers - an underserved group, generally. I would buy this for my library, if it existed as a book. As it is, I cannot lend it to kids who would love it, and that makes me sad.

Why would they love it? Snowy (a black cat, in case you're wondering) is funny and has lots of charm. There is menace, a couple of chilling villains, and a likeable boy protagonist with a smart and pretty girl his age plunging right into danger with him. I also liked that Billy's parents and Carmen's grandma are not fools, and are concerned for the children in their care. As to the plot, I don't want to give too much away, but there is an evil industrialist as well as a really nasty scientist who's experimenting on controlling animals' minds. Luckily, Snowy the cat and his friend (or is it enemy?) Razor are quite smart. What's more, Billy is able to understand the cat when he speaks. Can this trio, with Carmen's help and that of a few other characters, defeat the evil fur-face? You'll have fun finding out.

The book isn't perfect; there are a few typos and errors in grammar and the characters (with the exception of the charming Snowy) could have been fleshed out a bit more. Minor editing would fix these problems and make the book ready for library shelves, where librarians like me could hand it to children. Please, Mr. Gibbs, get this ready to go in paperback, or even hardcover! Young boys of 7 or 8 to about 13 who are looking for a quick, easy read will thank you!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 30, 2011
The fun thing about this book is that in addition to 13-year-old Billy Euston, the teenage boy protagonist, two other main characters are a cat and a fox who can "talk." The setting is a quaint English country village where an amoral scientist has been doing experiments on animals. Think THE SECRET OF NIMH meets Agatha Christie.

One thing I liked is that Billy's parents are neither dead nor neglectful. So often in YA, parents are one or the other, in order to give the protagonist a reason to be on his (or her) own. Billy's folks are busy but still good parents; he has to disobey them to sneak out and help his new friend Snowy, an all black cat who talks but only Billy can hear him. A third character is Razor, a fox who seems like a bad guy at first, until you find out why he's so angry.

And that's another thing I liked: humor! Snowy lives up to his ironic name with snarky dialog and a real attitude. Mr. Tinkles, a very civilized gorilla, has some great lines, too. In a way, this is a buddy movie, as Billy and Snowy work together to try to rescue Razor's missing family. There's a touch of romance, too, as Billy meets a girl his age who's only in town for the summer, and begins to wish she'd be around for longer than that. She's more than just a pretty face, and she becomes Billy's ally in his mission.

The ending is satisfying but not without some tears. No one and nothing lives forever. If you like science fiction, you might like this story.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2011
Sometimes juvenile literature charms adult readers as well, and from the start Fur-Face by Jon Gibbs had me reading with delight. The novel begins with suspense, not only in the set up of the story, but in the author's ability to create small scenes of near-misses and near-catches, depicting how a cat tries to sneak into a house unseen, to its destination. Snowy's plight leaves us sympathetic immediately, but then as he begins to talk to the boy of the house, Billy, we get a taste of his sarcasm and humor, accusing the boy of stereotyping upon his first words. Suddenly, the cat seems well able to take care of himself, and it seems the boy is going to be taken on this journey at the cat's command.

The chapters have charming, evocative subtitles that pique our interest, and endings that propel the reader forward, with many laugh-out-loud moments sprinkled throughout. Gibbs manages to pick just enough select details to create vivid settings that place us immediately in the story and develop a variety of atmospheres from the comfort and safety of home, to the mystique of an old house full of relics, to the mystery and terror of an animal research center.

Billy, Snowy, Aggie and friends are characters we quickly become fond of as we follow them in their investigation of cruel animal experiments perpetrated, they believe, by the evil Fur-Face. Full of puns and sarcasm and sincere affection, Fur-Face keeps you reading and believing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 6, 2010
Fur-Face is a fast paced story with an intriguing plot. The reader follows a talking cat and two teenagers in their quest to uncover a fiendish animal experimentation scheme and to reunite a fox with his kidnapped family. Clever, realistic dialogue and exciting action make this a page-turner. While Fur-Face follows the long tradition of fantasy adventure fiction, it is highly original and entertaining. One of the greatest strengths of this particular work lies in its character development. A finicky cat with a taste for drinking cola through a straw, a fiercely independent aunt with quite a few quirks of her own, and a young boy recently transplanted from London to a small town are just a few of the memorable characters in Gibbs' ensemble cast. These and the other characters in Fur-Face keep the reader engaged and involved with the story.

Fur-Face's conclusion is satisfying and logical. Gibbs ties up his loose ends nicely while still leaving room for the story to continue in the mind of the reader or perhaps in another book. This is a great read for a middle-grade audience, and I would love to see it in hard copy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 22, 2010
Every pet owner has at some point imagined what his or her animal would say if he or she had a voice. Jon Gibbs gives a voice with humor and imagination to his animal characters. He adds a creative plot-line, some unpredictable action, and a likeable young boy, which leads to a fun read for those in middle school and beyond. I read the book in two days and was eager to find out what would happen next to the characters. I found the dialogue snappy and the main animal character's (Snowy's) penchant for food amusing. The book had a clear good vs. evil plotline and I found myself rooting for Billy and the animals as I read. I hope at some point Fur-face will not only be available as an e-read but also as a print copy that can be added to libraries and book stores so that adolescents will have increased access to the book. I look forward to a sequel~ well done, Mr. Gibbs!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 31, 2010
I don't read middle grade books these days. I used to, when I was the book lady at my kids' elementary school, but that was ages ago. I forgot how hard it is to get a whole, child-believable story across without making it adult-level complicated. Jon Gibbs succeeds. Best of all, the story leaves off with a satisfying conclusion, while still leaving plenty of open threads for more. I have a feeling we'll all be seeing more of Snowy, Billy, Carmen, Aggie and the Eustons in the future. Thank goodness!

I did expect to laugh. I didn't expect to bawl my eyes out. I hate reviews full of spoilers, so I won't say why. Likeable characters, parents that weren't total dufuses, the best cat I've read since Crookshanks, Fur-Face was a great read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 4, 2011
What a fun adventure. I loved the character, Snowy, just as pompous as any cat can get! It was a fairly fast read. And the key to a good book: I wanted more. I would love this cat to find more mischief for us to read through.

If you love comic books there is a person you might relate to in Billy; quite the normal geek. :)

Though it is a book that could be read by younger children, I think I would have thought it to be too bloody and violent in places for the too young. So I labeled it young adult. Adults will like it, too.

The author has a wonderful blog on Live Journal: [...] with a lot of links to topics aspiring authors can use.
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