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Katniss the Cattail: An Unauthorized Guide to Names and Symbols in Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games Paperback – February 13, 2012


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Katniss the Cattail: An Unauthorized Guide to Names and Symbols in Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games + The World of the Hunger Games (Hunger Games Trilogy) + Catching Fire: The Official Illustrated Movie Companion (The Hunger Games)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 104 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (February 13, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 146996824X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1469968247
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #466,521 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Valerie Estelle Frankel is the author of From Girl to Goddess: The Heroine’s Journey in Myth and Legend and Buffy and the Heroine’s Journey (McFarland 2010, 2012). Her projects on fandom, called Harry Potter: Still Recruiting and Teaching with Harry Potter will be coming in 2012. Shorter works have appeared in over 100 anthologies and journals including Inside Joss' Dollhouse, Illuminating Torchwood, and Rosebud Magazine. Her parody, Henry Potty and the Pet Rock, was winner of the Indie Excellence Award and a USA Book News National Best Book. Once a lecturer at San Jose State University, she’s a frequent speaker on fantasy, myth, pop culture, and the heroine’s journey, with many fans of all ages. Come explore her latest research at http://vefrankel.com.

More About the Author

Valerie Estelle Frankel has won a Dream Realm Award, an Indie Excellence Award, and a USA Book News National Best Book Award for her Henry Potty parodies. She's the author of many books on pop culture, including From Girl to Goddess: The Heroine's Journey in Myth and Legend, Buffy and the Heroine's Journey, Winning the Game of Thrones: The Host of Characters and their Agendas, Katniss the Cattail: An Unauthorized Guide to Names and Symbols in The Hunger Games, An Unexpected Parody, Teaching with Harry Potter, Myths and Motifs of the Mortal Instruments, and Doctor Who - The What, Where, and How. Once a lecturer at San Jose State University, she's a frequent speaker on fantasy, myth, and pop culture. Come explore her latest research at VEFrankel.com.

Customer Reviews

If you're a fan of The Hunger Games, you need this book!
The Flashlight Reader
This book gives a lot of information about the names of the Hunger Games characters and other things.
Megan
Enjoyable...maybe even impressive if written and researched by a child.
Benjamin Swagerty

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 43 people found the following review helpful By The Flashlight Reader on March 1, 2012
Format: Paperback
There are some books that just deserve a permanent home. This is one of them. If you're a fan of The Hunger Games, you need this book! Period.

When I originally finished The Hunger Games trilogy, I had mixed feelings. I was a little disgruntled by the quick wrap up in Mockingjay. But now, after reading Katniss the Cattail by Valerie E. Frankel, I realize how brilliant Suzanne Collins really is. Oh. My. Goodness.

If you are a fan of The Hunger Games, you owe it to yourself to get a copy of Katniss the Cattail. Why, you ask? The answer is simple. This book explains the symbolism throughout the series. Sure, you may think you have already figured out the majority of the books' hidden meanings, but let me assure you--you are wrong. The plant names and "big" symbols are easy to dissect. There is no challenging that; but did you realize that almost every name in this book has some link back to Roman civilization? More importantly, to the overthrowing of Caesar? Amazing stuff.

I devoured this book the moment I opened my mailbox. Everytime I read something "new" about a character, my brain started turning. I couldn't help but stop and think about how a particular character interacted in the book; how they were described. It makes me want to reread the series with a more critical eye so I can appreciate the literary genius that is named Suzanne Collins. I do hope the movies can pull off this subtle characterization. Knowing the history behind the names really brings a new depth to the characters.

Wondering about what you might find in Katniss the Cattail?
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Cheryl C. Malandrinos VINE VOICE on March 23, 2012
Format: Paperback
Katniss the Cattail provides fans of Suzanne Collins's series a detailed look into the names and symbols found in all three books: The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Mockingjay.

From Alma Coin to York, from bows and arrows to Snake, and a thorough discussion of Katniss, Peeta and Gale, this book provides historical and literary background information on everyone and everything you could imagine from the books. Civil War admirals, Roman leaders, Persian kings and those made famous by Shakespeare's plays fill its pages. You'll soon discover the characters of Panem mean a lot more than their odd-sounding names.

Frankel also provides information on "Allusions to Literature and Life," discussing dystopia, history, Greek and Roman mythology and reality TV. The final pages of the book include a list of names by origin and the districts and their products.

This is a superb book for any lover of The Hunger Games series. It would also be an excellent resource for writers, showing the importance of carefully considering the names of their characters. Be warned, however, this book contains many spoilers, so it's a good idea to finish the series before reading it.

Highly recommended.
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful By MissBell on May 4, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Well, I had high hopes for this book and in some ways it came through. But some glaring errors, omissions, or biases truly nagged at me.

First the good things : I'm no student of Shakespeare though I do love his better-known works. The same can be said of me & Roman history/mythology. I'd already placed several of the characters as being leaders or philosophers from ancient Rome, but this book helped me place many others (Cinna !) who are somewhat lesser-knowns in Shakespearean dramas. And it reminded me of meanings of the names of some of the major background characters. The military origin of certain characters was VERY helpful.

Now the bad : I've grown up with plants called "cattails". They are NOT katniss. Two completely different plants in look & uses. The title is based on a lack of knowledge of the plant world (though the info about the katniss plant is correct otherwise).

It's very obvious Ms. Frankel doesn't like the character Gale. Very obvious, as she paints him in as odious a light as possible. She completely misses some clues about his true character. And it's very obvious she does like Peeta (as does everyone), making something of a stretch to compare him to the Christian disciple Peter. A bit much. Peeta may stem from "Peter", but I think it's simpler than a convoluted comparison to a saint. It has more to do with the meaning of the root name. Peter means "rock", which is what he becomes for Katniss.

When referencing Katniss' parents, I almost wondered if Ms. Frankel had even read the book. She refers to Mr. & Mrs. Everdeen as "almost ghostly". Given that Mr. Everdeen died a few years before the book opens, his presence SHOULD be ghostly. And Mrs. Everdeen is fighting to pull herself out of the depths of depression she entered when he died.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A. Arendt on March 22, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
(From my blog, Word Vagabond: Supporting Independent and Small Press authors.)

English professor and pop-culture author Valerie Frankel delves into the symbolism, history, and mythology behind the popular Hunger Games series.

The largest part of this book is an examination of the names of the significant characters in all three of the Hunger Games books, listed in alphabetical order. Following that, Frankel explains the meaning of the main symbols in the series and then examines its themes. The index contains a list of the names covered, this time organized by origin, and also a list of the Districts of Panem and their products.

The depth of research Frankel put into this book was really impressive. She draws on a dizzying array of sources, which are meticulously noted in the bibliography. Some of the name interpretations she give seem like a bit of a stretch, but others, like Gale's, seem spot-on. She also shows how the characters influence and illuminate each other, as in the relationship between Katniss and her sister's cat, Buttercup.

The author draws a strong correlation with Roman and military history, especially give Suzanne Collins' military background. I found the origin of the word Avox particularly interesting.

This is a detailed and fascinating look behind the scenes of a great series. I highly recommend it to any Hunger Games fans.
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