Varjak Paw

ISBN: 0606337210
ISBN 13: 9780606337212
By: S.F. Said

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Genres

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

About this book

Mesopotamian Blue cat, Varjak Paw, has never been Outside before; he and his family have always lived in the isolated house at the top of the hill. But Varjak is forced out into the city when the sinister Gentleman and his two menacing cats take over his home. With help from his mystical ancestor, Jalal, Varjak manages to overcome challenges such as self-survival and a threat from the gangland cats, and he ultimately discovers the terrifying secrets behind the Vanishings. But can he save his own family from their fate? With wonderful integrated illustrations from acclaimed comic book artist Dave McKean, this book will appeal to all ages.From the Hardcover edition.

Reader's Thoughts

Alissa Bach

A very quick read. This book, in addition to being one of our Battle of the Book titles for 2009, was recommended to me because I'm such a fan of Erin Hunter's "Warriors" series. The book's plot plays out like a Martial Arts flick: Young Varjak leads a very sheltered life...until the day a threatening evil invades his home and enslaves his family. Varjak escapes into the city, where he must learn the Way of the Jalal, an ancient martial art created by a distant ancestor. Varjak learns The Way and returns to defeat the evil that threatens his family.The twist? Varjak is a cat.

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

Niamh Meagher

My new favourite book.

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?).

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.

Barbara Richiger

fantastisch Story n telling, philosophy n beautiful artwork. son and MOM loved it

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

Damon

I got this because it had Dave McKean illustrations in it, and as an extra bonus those illustrations were of cats. That's one guy who can draw a cat... But I wound up really enjoying it - it's pretty obviously for a younger audience, and it's sort of about a cat that learns martial arts, but the story was pretty good, and I didn't feel stupider when I finished it, which I feel is often the case with "children's literature". A quick read, but worth the time.

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!

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.

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