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

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:-)

Kirsten

This is an entertaining novel, beautifully illustrated. It tells the story of one Varjak Paw, a cat from a noble line of Mesapotamian Blues. Varjak is a bit of an outcast in his family, what with his obsession with going Outside and his dislike of simply sitting around looking dignified. When the Countess (the owner of Varjak and his family) dies, a sinister man with two even more sinister black cats comes into the picture. Varjak must escape to the Outside, learn the cat martial arts, and return to save his family. The actual plot is not particularly strong, but it's a nicely creepy story, and the ideas behind it are very original.I re-read this because I'm planning on reading the sequel, The Outlaw Varjak Paw, and wanted to refresh my memory. Overall three stars seems a little weak for this book, and four seem to strong, so call it 3.5. Four stars for intriguing characters, overall idea, and illustrations, and three for plot and a very abrupt ending.

Kagama-the Literaturevixen

Book no 1 of the 16 cat bookshttp://theliteraturevixen.booklikes.c...Varjak Paw is the only one in his family of noble Mesopotamian Blue cats whose eyes arent green and he is constantly teased and ridiculed for this reason.His older brother even claims this is the reason their owner-the Contessa has stoppedvisiting them and only stays in her room. One who doesnt make fun of him is his grandfather the Elder Paw and Varjak loves to listen to him tell stories about their ancestor Jalals adventures.One day a strange Gentleman arrives with two ominiously black cats and takes the contessa away. Varjak and his grandfather are the only ones who thinks to question the weird events,but the others thinks things are just fine-as long as the gentleman keeps feeding them.The Elder Paw tells Varjak that he needs to go find something called a dog,because its the only thing that can scare the Gentleman away so while the Elder Paw distracts the black cats Varjak sneaks over the wall but he knows they killed his grandfather.In the end Varjak makes it to the city where he makes friends with two cats who teaches him the ways of the city.But even the city has dangers like rival cat gangs and cats mysteriously going missing.And he still needs to find a dog.And then there are the Dreams....This was a great book with actual depth to it and not just a cutesy books about cats.For a middle grade book it actually had some dark themes.Maybe its not as dark as Felidae but it does feature some unsettling things that had you wonder even at the end of the book what was going on. The fact you only see the story unfold from a cats viewpoint makes some things unclear and makes the villain the Gentleman seem even more twisted than if we had viewed it from a human characters viewpoint. Varjak was a symphatetic character even if he was far from forceful in his actions and when he finally through his experiences in the city takes charge of things he does suffer a lapse towards the end of the book and falls back into his old role.He gets better though. So its a coming of age story too.The others characters are cats with some human traits but I never felt they were humans in cats bodies.There were just enough catlike qualities to make them interesting.There is a sequel called Varjak the Outlaw wich I plan to read.

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!!

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.

Rhian Loxley

Varjak Paw is a Mesopotamium Blue kitten, living in a house on top of a hill, he has never left the high walls that surround the Contessa's garden. His family are happy to recline in the knowledge that a strange man will feed them caviar, as they admire their own handsome pedigree. Varjak however is bored, an outcast, unlike his siblings his name doesn't begin with J and he has eyes the colour of danger - he is desperate to see the world outside of the contessa's house. Armed with the wise words of Elder paw, Varjak learns the way of Jalal an ancient marshall art passed down through his ancestors.I am currently reading this book with my 3c guided reading group. A great text for inference and discussion about feelings. Varjak is bullied by his siblings and ends up entering in to a dark world of gangs and danger. I read this over 2 nights and thoroughly enjoyed it and the story really engaged my group from the very beginning.I am looking forward to reading the next installment, The Outlaw Varjak Paw!

Valu99

That his brother call him insect and he saw two cats and two men coming in the contessa is house this is what I know.

Dox

This was a well written, mythos-styled story. There is some annoying repetition in the story, but I think it is only annoying for an adult, and would work to good effect for the intended audience (children). As the story is told through Varjack Paw's point of view, there are some questions left unanswered, and some parts of the story seem unrealistic (even given acceptance of the thinking-talking cat scenario). My favorite character would be Cludge, who is the dog, and a hero, in the story. In a book full of cats, I suppose that may or may not mean something.

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.

Charlotte Jones

‘Varjak Paw’ was a book that I owned when I was a lot younger, read it but didn’t remember any of it. Leena from justkissmyfrog on Youtube talked about ‘Phoenix’ by the same author and mentioned this so she inspired me to seek out a copy of ‘Varjak Paw’! I found a second-hand copy in a charity shop for 49p and definitely couldn’t leave it there.This is a children’s book and so the print is on the large side and there are illustrations throughout. I loved the illustrations and will do a separate blog post about the illustrator, Dave McKean. The story follows Varjak Paw, an outsider in his own family, who leaves home to learn a secret martial art for cats. It is written in third person but focusses on the cats so it is a unique perspective compared to other things I have read.As an older reader I do find it difficult sometimes to read children’s books so I read this slowly as and when I felt like it. Having said that, I did get really hooked into the story and read most of it in one day in the end, after days of just reading a few pages at a time. The illustrations and the production of this book was definitely part of that. The pages are all black and white but there are variations within this book; most pages are the usual black text on white paper, but there are pages with white text on black, black text on grey and shaped text around images. It makes it a lot more enjoyable to read and although the majority of pages are full text, some are mostly illustration with only a few lines of text. This definitely highlights different parts of the plot and plays with the reader’s emotions more than it would without the images.“There are Seven Skills in the Way of Jalal,” whispered the Elder Paw, “We know only three of them. Their names are these. Slow-Time. Moving Circles. Shadow-Walking.”I found the lessons that Varjak learnt to be very interesting and even though the characters in this are mostly cats, I think that a few of the lessons would translate to people too.Overall this book was beautifully written with illustrations that really bound it all together well. Although it is a children’s book, I would thoroughly recommend it to older readers too, especially if you like reading children’s fiction. ‘Varjak Paw’ unfolds slightly like a martial arts film but with a coming-of-age twist that I really enjoyed. The ending was unexpectedly dark and a little creepy but definitely tied in well with the rest of the novel and wrapped everything up nicely. I didn’t realise until I finished it that this is the first in a series but I think that I will definitely be looking out for the second, even though, thankfully, this would still make a great standalone.

Niamh Meagher

My new favourite book.

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

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!

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!

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!

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