Varjak Paw

ISBN: 0552548189
ISBN 13: 9780552548182
By: S.F. Said Dave McKean

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Genres

Animals Cats Children Childrens Currently Reading Fantasy Favorites Fiction To Read Young Adult

About this book

Varjak Paw is a Mesopotamian Blue kitten. He lives high up in an old house on a hill. He's never left home, but then his grandfather tells him about the Way - a secret martial art for cats.Now Varjak must use the Way to survive in a city full of dangerous dogs, cat gangs and, strangest of all the mysterious Vanishings.

Reader's Thoughts

Marsha

Drawing a tale of adventurous animals that calls to mind such a classic as “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi”, “Varjak Paw” is a thrilling story of feline martial arts and mysterious happenings in the Big City. Leaving one’s comfort zone, learning new ways, opening up to new experiences and people are all the rather unsubtle messages given here but none of that detracts from a straightforward writing style that ropes in the reader and brings you careening through this amazing story. This book was so good I actually read it in one sitting. The illustrations by Dave McKean are particularly excellent, reducing cats to their pure essence as sleek creatures of fur, muscle, claws and bone with each cat distinct in coloring and character. His spare, angular drawing style is not for everyone but fans of his work will appreciate seeing it here.

Featherheart

I was going through old email and I found this review I wrote. I don't remember what the book is about, but it sounds good! :)Varjak Paw is a Mesopotamian Blue, a noble pure-bred cat that lives in the house of the Contessa, where his ancestor Jalal came many years ago. His brother bullies him, his parents ignore him, and his eyes are the “color of danger.” Everybody says he’s not a real Mesopotamian Blue. To make things worse, the Contessa is very sick. One day, a Gentleman comes with his two black cats. Varjak suspects that the Contessa is dead, but nobody will listen. Then the Elder Paw, the head of the family, tells Varjak to keep Jalal’s Way alive and to bring a dog from Outside to scare away the Gentleman. To buy Varjak time, the Elder Paw sacrifices himself in a battle with the two black cats. Varjak’s only hope is that Holly, a spiky black-and-white cat and her neurotic friend Tam will help him to find a dog, scare the Gentleman away, and stop the mysterious Vanishings. But time is running out, and Varjak needs to learn to use the Way through strange dreams of his ancestor Jalal while keeping out of the way of the notoriously evil Sally Bones. Don’t miss this action-packed thriller or its sequel, The Outlaw Varjak Paw. –Tawnyflower

Aaron Campling

This thrilling story follows Varjak Paw, a Mesopotamian Blue cat living in the house of Contessa on top of a hill. His family bully and ignore him, and his eyes are the 'colour of danger'. Varjak Paw is successfully portrayed as different to everybody else (something that some children may be able to relate to), and soon becomes increasingly desperate to see the world outside of the Contessa's house, something he has never done. The Contessa soon becomes sick, and when a sinister man with two black cats comes onto the scene, Varjak is certain that the Contessa is dead. Varjak's desire to leave the house on the hill becomes reality when the Elder Paw, the head of the family, tells Varjak to journey to the outside and to bring back a dog to scare the man away. Eager to succeed, Varjak learns the way of Jalal, an ancient martial art passed down through his ancestors. S.F. Said's choice to mix cat behaviour with martial arts is really effective, whilst the beautiful illustrations by Dave McKean help bring the story to the next level.In the story, Varjak also learns about sacrifice, prejudice and how to build relationships, making this book ideal for discussion about feelings. Although the story is simple, it is fast-paced and had me gripped from start to finish. It's a pleasantly creepy story, and the mood is pretty dark a lot of the time. The ideas are very original and S.F. Said adds suspense sufficiently. Said's beautiful use of metaphors and similes make this literate, challenging and engaging enough for children, and the unpredictable ending will make this book very memorable.Although appealing to children, Varjak Paw has many qualities that a variety of ages would appreciate. With its dark nature, I feel that it would not be appropriate for very young children, however this is a fantastic choice for children that love a creepy adventure!

Jennifer H

I just didn't like this book. Poor Varjak Paw, his owner died, his family treated him as an outcast because he wondered about why things were the way they were, he got kicked out of his house, and had to live on the streets. Luckily he made it in with a couple of nice cats. I liked the dreams he had of learning the secret cat kung-fu or whatever - that was cute and a nice build up of learning. It was funny that he thought cars were scary dogs at first. And he makes friends with a real dog eventually. He goes homes to prove to his family that he's not a crazy cat and saves them from ultimate doom to be turned into robot cat toys. I felt like the story was slow, that VP didn't catch onto things quick, but he comes out smelling of roses (fish?).

Althea Ann

I saw this book in the store, and the cat on the front cover was so adorable that I had to buy it for my sister. Of course, then I had to read it before giving it to her!This is definitely a kids' book - not even YA, but for younger children.However - it's also an excellent book. McKean's illustrations are perfect for the characters and the story.Varjak is a young Mesopotamian Blue cat who's been brought up to think he's something special. However, when his owner disappears and a strange and sinister man appears in his family's house, a dream connection with his legendary ancestor leads him to venture into the dangerous outside world, where he learns to reevaluate his priorities - as well as questing to save his family from the danger he's sure they're in.It's a sweet story - but it's also got some genuinely spooky elements - and it's definitely in the realm of the fantastic.Oh yeah, and did I mention how excellent Dave McKean's illustrations are? He rocks!

Niamh Meagher

My new favourite book.

Michele Velthuizen

Interest level: 5th +Reading level: mediumGenre: fantasy, adventure, animals, catsSeries: Varjak PawRead alikes: Warrior series by Erin HunterIf you like adventure or fantasy stories with animals in them you'll enjoy 'Varjak Paw'. Varjak, part of a family of Mesopotamian Blue Cats, has to leave the comforts of his home and venture out into the wild world in order to find help to save his fellow cats from an evil man who invaded their home. Interestingly, a form of martial arts plays a part in the story (Varjak learns old fighting skills from his ancestors during his dreams), and the sketches throughout the book give it a feel of a graphic novel. The illustrator of the book is Dave McKean - take a look at his neat sketches below and find out more about his drawings by going to the [ http://www.varjakpaw.com/ ]Varjak Paw website. The second book in the series is called "The Outlaw Varjak Paw".I named one of my cats after Varjak:-)

Terilin

This is a family favorite. Shey especially loves that he's on the cover. This truly is a fantastic read even if you're not a cat person. There's a dog in this story too!

Nicholas

Join Varjak Paw as he leaves his comfortable home and ventures out into the big wide world in search of a dog to save his family and live up to the name of his ancestor, Jalal Paw. This coming-of-age tale throws together elements of Brian Jacques' Redwall and Dodie Smith's 101 Dalmatians for an adventure that will keep your attention for the duration of the story. Said does an excellent job of presenting characters that, while they are easily related to, clearly perceive the world in a different way than a human character would (and not just because everything seems huge from a cat's eye view). Their development, particularly Varjak's is swift, but not hurried, and their backgrounds are only filled in as much as is needed and not one iota further. The setting is quite generic and not well unfolded, but the story does not need it to be otherwise, since long-winded tracts of background material and description would probably serve only to put off the target audience. For those on the ball, however, there is one very obvious pointer as to what city the story is set in. Overall, therefore, this is a fine children's story, well worth obtaining for your child if they enjoy a good adventure. It's literate, challenging and engaging enough that they probably won't complain about having to practice their reading with it.

Zahara

Varjak Paw by S. F. SaidA tale of Varjak the cat, descendant of the great Jalal, finding his identify in the big world. Varjak an outcast grew up with his parents and his siblings being told the story of Jalal by his grandfather. Jalal was a brave and courageous cat who after 100 years has left a legacy for his descendents to follow. Varjak Paw years to have an adventurous life where he can show his siblings he is worthy of being a descendent of Jalal. His opportunity arises when the countess dies and the house is occupied with a mysterious man, Elder Paw, Vrajak’s grandfather warns him that no good will come out of this new situation and that he needs to leave the house he has been accustomed to since birth and must befriend a dog who will help free them from the grasp of the gentleman.Varjak Paw leaves after the gentleman’s black cats attack his grandfather, once on the other side of the wall, Varjak realises he is alone and contemplates how he will survive in the real world. He begins having dreams where Jalal the great helps him learn the seven basic survival techniques which would help him overcome any difficulties. With the help of Jalal and a cat Varjak befriends, they embark on a journey finding a dog that would be willing to help. After learning the seven survival techniques, Jalal goes back to his family to fight the gentleman only to find the gentleman has been kidnapping stray cats from the town and killing them to make stuffed toys. In a room he finds a cage with several cats who are awaiting their fate of being turned into a stuffed animal. Varjak paw defeats the two black cats but is helpless when it comes to fighting the gentleman, but luckily Varjak’s friend the dog arrives at the right time and is able to win the quest for Varjak, allowing all the cats to escape from a vicious fate. Varjak claims the position of the leader amongst his family however turns the position down as he realises he is much more than a house cat and has many more adventures awaiting him.An ideal Gothic tale for beginners outlining betrayal, adventure and unexpected twists. An easy read for children aged between 7-9 years of age.

Eduardo Fernandes

Comprei este livro por duas razões: primeiro, custava só 3€; segundo, o primeiro livro que escrevi tinha o título de "Canção de Varjak", que também é o nome de uma arma russa.Enfim, a primeira coisa que chama atenção no livro são as ilustrações. Normalmente não gosto de livros com figuras mas, neste caso, estão muito bem enquadradas e acrescentam sem exagerar. A segunda coisa é que o livro é uma fábula. As personagens são gatos (principalmente) e um cão.O livro fala da viagem de auto-descoberta de um gato que tinha tudo e, de repente, descobre que precisa começar do zero e encontrar forças para vencer um desafio grande demais.A história tem uma leitura fácil, e é bem agradável. É mais um daqueles casos de um bom livro que ninguém leva a sério, mas vale a pena.

Becky

This may be a book aimed at younger readers than me but I really enjoyed reading it to my daughter at bedtime. Varjak Paw is the cat equivalent of a rebellious teen and an unlikely hero.The story intertwines between the reality of a town where cats Vanish and Varjak's family live in luxury at the Contessa's house with the dream world where Varjak learns the secrets of The Way. It's illustrations are very different but really add to the story of how Varjak overcomes various adventures in his quest to find a dog to save his family from the Gentleman.Lots of suspense and surprises along the way, a great bedtime story or one for a confident reader to enjoy to themselves.

Kitty Golden

This book is very sweet it is the story of a young weak cat ridiculed by his elder brother for being the only Mesoptamian blue cat with green eyes. There are all these sweet things about how these cats live and there thoughts and the main character goes on a journey! The illustrations are really beautiful and I think it is a great read about people discovering who they really are!

Kelsey Hoban

Varjak Paw is a unique and thrilling chapter book about a very unique culture of cats that go on adventures. This great book is about a kitten that finds himself on an amazing adventure. He is told by his grandfather to go into the city and is taught the different cat martial arts while exploring and adventuring through the new city. I loved this book because it brigs different cultures and species together into one interesting and awesome story. This book takes you on the adventure with the characters and makes you want to be there with them. I thought this book would be good for the upper elementary ages and the middle school ages. It is chapter book so a good reader needs to be the one reading this. But the themes and plot are simple enough for a skilled but young reader to enjoy. THis isn't s a book I would read to my classroom because I am not sure all students would enjoy it.

karen

first, let's focus on the artwork, because i saw this cover somewhere and i knew that i needed to read this book, no matter what its contents. i really do love dave mckean. he has been responsible for some of my favorite jonathan carrol covers, and the man just really knows how to draw cats.he manages to get cat mannerisms down perfectly with such an economy of line - i love it. the only person whose cats even come close, and with a totally different tone is jeffrey brown:he gets all the cute stuff - mckean settles for the slinky, creepy, dangerous cats.fortunately for me, the book is also very good. it is the story of a purebred housecat who goes on a mission to find a "dog" in order to rescue his family from a bad man with two seriously bad cats who have taken over the house. along the way he learns some ancient secret cat fighting tricks in order to survive on the streets and meets some cat gangs and learns about the ways a cat can just go missing on the streets...said does a good job of juxtaposing the pet cats with the feral ones; the stakes of each and their own particular values and mythologies. and now i am off to read the sequel!!

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