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Dewey: A Small Town, a Library and the World's Most Beloved Cat - Vicki Myron

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7 Reviews

Genre: Science / Nature / Author: Vicki Myron / Hardcover / 288 Pages / Book is published 2009-02-19 by Hodder & Stoughton

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    7 Reviews
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      25.06.2012 22:14

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      Judge this book by it's cover

      I just had to buy this book because Dewey looks just like my cat! Now they say you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover but I decided not to worry about that!

      The book is about a cat who was found in a library book return box and was then adopted by the library and the town in general.

      Overall it is a heart-warming story which is not only about a cat but also about the lives of the people who care for him and come into contact with him.

      It is a bit overly sentimental (and I'm a cat lover) but this was to be expected really and it wouldn't make much of a story if it wasn't.

      If you have a cat it will make you chuckle at their little ways - Dewey does a lot of the same things that my cat does - playing with the Christmas tree every year and such like!

      I felt that the book started a little slow and the over sentimentalism is very evident but it then seems to warm up as you grow to know and love Dewey.

      I was a bit upset that there wasn't a happy ending! I don't see why Dewey couldn't have lived forever!

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      14.03.2011 17:13
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      a story about an exciting Library cat!

      This review is for "Dewey: The Small-town Library Cat Who Touched The World" I submitted a product proposal, however I was told that I should just type my review here! So make sure you are aware of which book I'm talking about.

      I got this book through the door ages and ages ago, and I saw Dewey on the front and I thought this is definitely the book for me. I have had a lot of pets in my childhood, but I don't think anyone of them have lived up to the cats we had, I reckon I am a cat lover in my heart, although I rarely get to show it.

      Getting off track a bit. When I was really young we had two cats, one called Ben, the other called Sam, however Sam fell ill (I don't even remember him) and so my parents replaced him with a new cat called Toby. Now I vaguely remember Toby, but he broke his paw and so he disappeared too. Ben and I were best of friends, and even though I am now 18 I can remember him as if he was sitting right next to me. Not long after I became four years old, Ben was passed on to a new family, since his life here had become unliveable as Cameron (my younger brother) started pulling his tail. So Ben would stay outside hiding under the slide, until Cameron had gone to bed, and that was when Ben came back in. I was also diagnosed with Asthma, and so that was another further reason why my parents decided to send Ben away. And I still miss him today. We have had many pets since then, we've had various goldfish and shubunkins and comets, our longest living Goldfish of 9 years recently died because of something called "white spot", and so after many different attempts we now have clean clear water and four new goldfish surviving, at long last. Also we had a hamster called "Lady" (Cameron named her after a Thomas the Tank Engine character) she died after a year and my brother blames my parents. And we now have a Border collie dog called "Harvey" he'll be 8 years old this November (which works out to be 56 doggy years old). I expect when I get a house of my own, I'll end up having my own cute cat, although there are various different pets which I am interested in having, but all in good time, right?

      This book captured me right from the start. I don't know why I haven't really been interested in books to do with pets, so I was intrigued to find out how I would get on with this book. As it were, Vicki Myron's writing style is so unique that it gripped me in a calm exciting manner, which a book has never done to me before. I was extremely interested in Dewey, and I was so interested in meeting him, but I can't since he is no longer around. But he's already captured my heart, and I hope he catches yours too, when you read this book. Vicki Myron has written many different books, all of which tells the life of Dewey and his library cat adventures. I personally do not fancy reading another one of Dewey's books as I feel it will be pretty similar to this book, and there are far more books I have to read out there!

      As I have already said, we follow the adventures of Dewey (real name being "Dewey Readmore Books"). At the age of eight weeks, in January 1988, on a freezing winter evening, Dewey was left in an outside book drop at the Spencer Public Library. The library staff discovered the kitten the next morning. The kitten was badly frostbitten and so filthy that everyone thought he was grey instead of his natural copper and white. Although the entire staff cared for him, library director Vicki Myron took primary responsibility. How he survived the night, Vicki will never know, but this truly is a remarkable tale of a cat that was loved by the whole nation, and definitely you need to read.

      This book is about a Cat, I really do suggest that if you dislike cats, this isn't for you. But who knows.... I would definitely say that is probably links well with the other cat stories that are floating around, since it is just as good. On Wikipedia, they have linked this book with "Marley and me" I think it is to do with the fact that both are to do with pets and they are both totally true stories, although which ones better? I could not say. Personally I think it is to do with whether you like cats or dogs; if you like both, then you'll like both stories.

      Dewey Readmore Books is a clever name for a library cat, since it basically says: "Do We Read More Books?" And although that wasn't an intention it happened anyway. And I really do like that name.

      I totally fell in love with this story as soon as I started reading it, and I'm sure you will too. It was extremely interesting, and I wanted to know what a library cat did all day, I loved the whole idea of playing hide and seek with Dewey, it sounded very intriguing. I also couldn't stop laughing at the catnip incident, and Vicki Myron describes that bit amazingly well and you cannot help but laugh. The ending was nice, that's all I can say about it, it kind of left it exactly where I wanted it to and it wasn't too heart-braking, and just nice. It is definitely a pure fun read but you do learn a lot and how cats are like which is really interesting, I learnt a lot more. I felt very emotional through-out this book, it made me laugh it made me feel upset but it was a great story line, and I really felt sorry for Dewey in the first few pages when finding out he was shoved in the library's book drop. I don't think it's one that I would re-read (although I'll never get the chance to read it again). Purely because it is one of those one-time story's that you much, much, much prefer just to hear it once, that hearing it over and over again.

      This would definitely appeal to people who have been fans of Dewey, but also cat lovers, and maybe people who just like a brilliant cat story, I definitely recommend this book to you lot.

      For people who enjoy reading books before films come out, you better hurry up. This book is being made into a film fairly soon, and it is rumoured "Meryl Streep" will play Vicki Myron, although personally I would much prefer Vicki herself to act as herself, but then again you can't have everything you want.

      This is a much loved book that I'm sure everyone out there would hate to miss the chance to read, so go ahead and buy it as it is definitely a book you desperately need, it is really gripping and an exciting tale that you'll love again and again.

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        26.04.2010 21:12
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        A nice little read, without being overly challenging

        One cold December morning Vicki Myron arrives for work at the public library in Spencer, Iowa, to find a half-frozen kitten in the overnight drop box. She takes him in, bathes him to try and warm him up and instantly falls in love with him. You can see why, looking at the picture of him on the front cover. I don't even like cats (sorry to admit it, but I much prefer dogs!), but even I can see he's a bit of a looker and could easily have the ladies swooning at his feet...sorry,paws.

        There's really not else to say about the 'plot' of this book. Dewey ended up being a library cat- the board of directors agreed to let him stay and live there, although Vicki vowed never to spend any public funds on his upkeep, reasonably enough. The rest of the book, therefore, mainly centres on Dewey himself, and the effect he has on the lives of the people of Spencer, and a few individuals in particular, until his death at the age of 19- a ripe old age for a cat, I would have thought.

        In fact, he doesn't just affect the lives of locals, but gains increasing worldwide fame too, as a film crew fly in from Tokyo in order to include him in one of their documentaries, and people from other states drive 2 hours out of their way en-route to somewhere else, just to see Dewey.
        However, the most interesting parts of the story for me where not about Dewey himself, but about Vicki's life, and that of her family, as well as about the local culture and history. I learnt one fact that will stay with me forever: apparently the average American diet is 70% corn-based! Obviously she said this in relation to it being the main crop farmed in Iowa, but I just can't stop picturing the lack of fruit and vegetables, rice and potatoes they'd have to be eating for that statistic to be accurate.

        The author seems to have had a tough life, and I admire the courage and optimistic nature with which she has faced all of life's challenges- her nature comes through strongly in her telling of the story. She obviously views Dewey as a dear friend who helps and supports her as she does a full-time job and a master's course whilst bringing up a daughter single-handed and trying to deal with a whole host of relentless illnesses that come her way. Don't get me wrong though- this is in no way a depressing read, and really the main focus of the story is on the cat. Everything else is just there to build up background.

        The problem with this book, for me is that, as I mentioned above, the main focus of the story is on the cat. I know what's it like to have a pet you love as a part of the family and include in all your photos and memories, and it's fun to discuss all their crazy quirks and personality traits with other animal lovers. However, a pet-based conversation probably lasts up to about half an hour, at the most, and it's taken me a good six or seven hours to read this book. That's too much time devoted to the habits of somebody else's pet, in my view.

        Also, she has the rather irritating habit of referring to Dewey constantly as if he's human. I don't mean this in the sense that she simply believes him to be trying to communicate with her with his facial expressions. This might be reasonable enough. It's the fact that she seems to believe he actually thinks like a human- for example, apparently he is telepathic and runs away when she thinks the word 'bath,' even if she doesn't actually say it. He does what is asked of him, not out of love for his owners, but because he understands his job as publicity director for the library. The problem is that I don't think these things are written tongue-in-cheek.

        The line Vicki Myron chooses to take throughout the book is that Dewey touched people's lives in so many countless ways, and that he was so much more than just a companion to the library's patrons. This starts off feeling endearing, but begins to grate on the umpteenth time of hearing it. Nevertheless, despite the frequent over-sentimentality, Vicki's love for her cat really shines through, and it is clear from the many examples she gives that he really did touch people's lives, not least her own, so maybe he deserves to have a book written about him- although I'm sure many people would say the same about their own pets!

        If you want to know more about Dewey Readmore Books, you can look on the Spencer Public Library webpage for some information and a cute picture. It would seem he even has his own facebook page!

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          23.03.2010 06:31
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          Cat lovers should read this

          This is a review of the book "Dewey" written by Librarian Vicki Myron. It's all about how an abandoned cat becomes an in-house library based cat (apparently it's a tradition).

          This book is a true account of a small ginger kitten that was dumped in a freezing cold metal book chute on a freezing cold night in Spencer Iowa.

          When the library staff found him the next day he was nearly dead with frostbite on his paws - I was blubbing by now - and they decided to keep him.

          They named him Dewey readmore books. He turned out to have the ideal personality for the job. Sociable, people-loving, clever, funny and endearing are just some of the characteristics of this adorable cat.

          Throughout the book Vicki weaves her own life events as they happen and shows how much she leant on Dewey for support. He is her rock and is always there when she needs him. It must have been so tempting for her to just take him home but instead she creates the perfect home for him in the library and shares him with thousands of people who all love him.

          Dewey is a special and unreplaceable cat. He made time for adults and children alike and knew just how to work well with disabled children, building a special bond with them and tapping deep into their wavelength.

          The book could be seen as tedious if you're not a cat lover. I am and could talk about mine all day so really enjoyed this book. I loved how the author described Dewey's greeting to her in the morning when she arrived for work at the library, he waved from the window. His other trick was eating rubber bands which is a strange one.

          A word on the cover picture: it is really striking and I did wonder for 1988 if it was actually Dewey. Later in the book the author tells of a ten dollar professional photo she had took and this is it! Clearly it has been professionally altered a bit with a bookshelf background and ribbon added but you can look right into Dewey's eyes on the picture and see how lovely and caring he is.

          I won't spoil the ending in case you want to read it yourself at some point but it's a good read and I enjoyed hearing about Dewey's international fame. I'm amazed a cat can live in a library but this is one example where it worked well.

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            31.01.2010 11:23
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            I wouldn't recemmend this book

            Dewey by Vicki Myron

            The book is about a kitten dumped at Spencer library by Vicki Myron. She persuades the library to keep him and he spends many wonderful years there and bring more people and success to the library.

            I am a cat lover myself, and I did enjoy reading at Dewey's antics, but I found that it didn't really go anywhere. I enjoy books that I can't put down, and this was a bit slow for me. It could have been a lot shorter. The author often humanises Dewey. Although I adore my cats, I think you would struggle to write a whole book on their antics, they sleep most of the time. This book shortly shot to fame after Marley and Me, I wonder how successful it would have been at another time.

            The book is funny in places, but I struggled with it and did not finish reading it. I personally didn't really enjoy this book and would not recommend it to others, but others may enjoy the descriptions of Dewey's antics.

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            21.07.2009 01:59
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            The story of a library cat

            One winter morning Librarian Vicky Myron heard a noise coming from the book return box. Upon investigating, the library staff find a tiny kitten, so weak and cold that he could barely lift his head or find the strength to meow. Vicky fell in love with the pathetic bundle of orange fur the first moment their eyes locked and they adopted the cat who they named Dewey Readmore Books and he became the official library cat.

            Cat Lovers will know all about how cats behave and in this respect Dewey was no different. He was fickle, fussy, obsessed with squeezing into tiny corners, scared of the vet and loving to his owners. The difference between Dewey and most of our feline friends is that he was owned by the whole town of Spencer in Iowa and not just one person. My kitty seems to know when I am in need of a hug and some cheering up and Dewey was no different paying special attention to the disabled, a smelly homeless man and others who he sensed needed his love. An animal has the knack of breaking down boundaries in the way that people cannot and Dewey was responsible for a non verbal girl called Crystal making her first sound as well the equally important job of making others smile. Cat lovers will smile at Dewey's antics recognising his behaviour as belonging to a typical moggy and nod in understanding at how cats can both make us smile and frustrate us with their antics in equal measure.

            A book all about a cat can only be so interesting, no matter how special the animal is there is only a limited amount you can say about them. The book also focuses on the people and community of Spencer, Iowa. Spencer is a small farming community which was suffering from an economic slump in the years when Dewey was the official library cat. The Head librarian and author Vicky was also dealing with her own hardships and Dewey helped to build a bond between her and her teenage daughter, the one thing that seemed to unite them at times was their love for Dewey. I found the stories about Spencer were really interesting and not only covered the history of the area but the history of public libraries in general. We normally only hear about the big cities in America and it was nice to read about normal Americans as opposed to wacky Californians for a change.

            Dewey's fame was not limited to the small town of Spencer, he soon became a worldwide star appearing in magazines and newspapers worldwide and even a Japanese documentary proving the universal appeal of animals.

            I was given the book "Dewey" as a gift from a friend who knows I love cats. Normally I would steer clear of cat books and I read it out of a sense of obligation rather than a desire to find out more about Dewey himself. I found that I really enjoyed the book overall although it does get a bit too mushy and over-sentimental at times. It's not a book that is limited to cat lovers though, anyone who appreciates the bond between an animal and the people who love it will enjoy reading about Dewey.

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              19.07.2009 10:04
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              A lovely heart-warming read for anyone who likes cats

              "Dewey - The Small Town Library Cat Who Touched the World" by Vicky Myron
              Hodder & Stoughton, 2008
              Hardback, 277pp
              RRP £14.99, Amazon.co.uk £7.94

              Cat lovers rejoice! After years of "Marley & Me" topping the best-seller lists, a new entrant to the pet lit genre has emerged - and this time, the star of the show is feline. "Dewey - The Small Town Library Cat Who Touched the World" by Vicky Myron has proved to be so popular that it has reached the number 1 spot in the New York Times bestseller list earlier this year, and is starting to catch on in the UK if my local library's waiting lists for it are anything to go by. This book is hardly one of shocking twists and turns: you can tell from the title exactly what you are going to get (a library, a cat, cute moggy stories, something easy to read and heart-warming) and this has evidently proved to be a winning formula. Mind you, it helps that Dewey had built up a legion of fans (predominantly in the US, but apparently he received fan mail from around the world) before the book was even written, with his story appearing on radio shows, magazines and TV shows worldwide. It seems only fitting that he should have his own bestselling book as well.

              Our story starts on a bitterly cold January morning in 1988, when library assistant manager Vicky Myron arrives at work in the small midwestern town of Spencer, Iowa. As she goes about preparing the library for the day ahead, she finds more than she expected in the book drop-box: a small ginger kitten with frostbitten feet who had been shoved in the box during the night and who had somehow managed to survive the freezing temperatures. The kitten "was huddled in the front left corner of the box, its head down, its legs tucked underneath it, tying to appear as small as possible...it was just hoping to be saved", Myron recalls. And saved it was. She rescues the kitten and nurses it back to health, and as each one of the library staff in turn falls in love with him, it becomes clear that keeping him in the library as a communal pet is something they would all like, and she manages to convince the library board to let the cat stay on. But what about the patrons? The little cat is introduced one by one to some of the regular borrowers to see what happens, and it soon becomes clear that despite his earlier ordeal, he loves and trusts people almost unconditionally, and they in turn love having him around - this cat, soon to be officially named Dewey Readmore Books, quickly becomes adopted as the library cat of Spencer and makes the building his home. The library is the perfect place for a cat like Dewey, as he goes about making the town fall in love with him and his antics, before going on to become quite the media darling with his own fans and visitors from out of town who come to Spencer just to meet him.

              This is the story of a wonderful animal and the positive impact that animals can have on people's lives. Dewey is a cat with a quite unusual personality, as anyone who has ever owned a cat will quickly realise; while I expect there is a degree of rose-tinted glasses in this book, a cat that behaves in such an consistently outgoing and friendly manner towards people is one unusually well suited to the position of library cat. (Not a unique position, I should add - library cats can be found worldwide, both as pest control agents and as pets intended to make libraries welcoming and inviting to the communities they serve - see http://www.ironfrog.com/catsmap.html). But his book is about more than just Dewey, it is also about the town he made such an impact on, and Myron herself, the nearest thing Dewey had to an owner. When Dewey arrives in town, Iowa is still reeling from the effects of a farming crisis that has seen unemployment soar in the rural area that Spencer serves, and the loss of many family-run farms to large corporations. Myron herself has also experienced many personal hardships and health problems, and is struggling to make ends meet as a single mother recently divorced from an alcoholic husband. It is into this bordering-on-bleak world that Dewey arrives, acting as a source of comfort, pleasure, friendship and laughter for the community. The tales told about him are in turn touching and funny, but as they are interspersed with stories of Spencer and the author's own life, the book has a firm context and is prevented from becoming just a collection of cute cat stories.

              The writing throughout the book is of a pretty good standard, and the chapters flow smoothly and easy together to form a coherent whole. I found the reading easy and gentle for the most part, but due to some of the subject matter - such as where Myron describes living with her alcoholic husband - it is not a book suitable for young children, however appealing the cover with its photo of a handsome ginger cat may be**. The snapshots of Dewey that grace the start of each chapter are also a nice touch (none but the cover picture were professionally taken, all other photos were taken by library staff and patrons over the years) and help bring the cat's personality to life. It was a book that I enjoyed reading, but not one I would say I devoured like I have done with other books I enjoyed: it was more a book to dip into in small portions over a couple of weeks for me, rather than one to demolish over the course of a single afternoon. That is not to say it was a bad book, just that it was one you had to be in the mood for something warm and undemanding to enjoy - this is, I suppose, comfort reading.

              If the book has any great flaws, it is that Myron has a habit of over-anthropomorphising her furry friend. For example, the gesture Dewey habitually makes when he meets her at the library door each morning is interpreted as him waving in greeting, rather than him pawing at the door in anticipation of her coming in and feeding him. However, I can't complain too much about this trend - it is something all cat owners have doubtless done at one time or another. But in the end, it is the positivie impact that pets can have on our life that comes shining through. Vicki writes: "(In life), the most important thing is to have someone to scoop you up, to hold you tight, and to tell you everything is all right ... For years, I thought I had done that for Dewey. I thought that was my story to tell ... But that's only a sliver of the truth. The real truth is that for all those years, on the hard days, the good days, and all the unremembered days that make up the pages of the real book of our lives, Dewey was holding me."

              Recommended.


              **For young children, Vicki Myron has now written an illustrated version of this book called "Dewy-There's a cat in the library!", which is due to be released later this year.

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