Varjak Paw

ISBN: 1417738618
ISBN 13: 9781417738618
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

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:-)

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.

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.

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?).

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!!

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.

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.

Kristin Rosenberg

Varjak Paw is a pure-bred Mesopotamian Blue, and in his family that means something. Their ancestor, Jalal, has traveled the world and wound up living with the Contessa, which is where Varjak and his family live now. When Elder Paw suspects that the Contessa has died, strife befalls the Paw family. Varjak must learn out to survive Outside and save his family. Written from the cat's perspective, this book is intriguing and just a little jumbled. With family dynamics that will make your fur stand on end, you'll quickly be rooting for Varjak to prove his family wrong, and make Elder Paw proud. Get far enough into this book, and you'll find that it's really got it's claws in you.I would recommend this for animal lovers, and for readers who enjoy suspense and adventure.

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!

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.

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

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.

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