The Five Lives of Our Cat Zook

Abrams
16
Free sample

In this warmhearted middle-grade novel, Oona and her brother, Fred, love their cat Zook (short for Zucchini), but Zook is sick. As they conspire to break him out of the vet’s office, convinced he can only get better at home with them, Oona tells Fred the story of Zook’s previous lives, ranging in style from fairy tale to grand epic to slice of life. Each of Zook’s lives has echoes in Oona’s own family life, which is going through a transition she’s not yet ready to face. Her father died two years ago, and her mother has started a relationship with a man named Dylan—whom Oona secretly calls “the villain.” The truth about Dylan, and about Zook’s medical condition, drives the drama in this loving family story.

Praise for The Five Lives of Our Cat Zook
STARRED REVIEW
"Rocklin’s characters are fully developed: readers will be invested. Set in Oakland, readers are also treated to a refreshingly authentic child’s view of a diverse city. The only imperfection in this novel is that it ends."
Booklist, starred review

“Oona’s character is a combination of Harriet the Spy in curiosity and Anastasia in spunk. Another emotionally satisfying outing from Rocklin; hanky recommended.”
Kirkus Reviews

"Just as she did in One Day and One Amazing Morning on Orange Street, Rocklin intertwines her characters so smartly that the many coincidences and serendipitous events feel organic to the story. The story’s ending—bittersweet, inevitable, and true—offers much-needed catharsis for the family and for anyone who has ever loved a pet."
The Horn Book

"This heartwarming family tale is filled with resilient and thoughtful characters who are willing to learn from their mistakes. Readers who enjoy the novels of Jeanne Birdsall and Leslie Crunch will appreciate this charming story."
School Library Journal

"There is a strong sense of place in this loving story with the ending sure to generate some tears. This would make a strong library lesson extension activity."
Library Media Connection

Awards
SCBWI’s Golden Kite Award for Fiction - 2012
Dorothy Canfield Fisher Book Award
Rebecca Caudill Young Readers’ Book Award
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About the author

Joanne Rocklin is the author of many books for children, including The Five Lives of Our Cat Zook, which won the Golden Kite Award and was named to Florida’s Sunshine State Young Readers Award master list. Lucy Knisley is a critically acclaimed comic creator and author of the New York Times bestselling graphic memoir Relish.
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Reviews

4.8
16 total
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Additional Information

Publisher
Abrams
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Published on
Apr 1, 2012
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Pages
176
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ISBN
9781613123164
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Language
English
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Genres
Juvenile Fiction / Animals / Cats
Juvenile Fiction / Family / Siblings
Juvenile Fiction / Social Themes / Death & Dying
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

Reading information

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Joanne Rocklin
When a mysterious man arrives one day on Orange Street, the children who live on the block try to find out who he is and why he’s there. Little do they know that his story—and the story of a very old orange tree—connects to each of their personal worries in ways they never could have imagined. From impressing friends to dealing with an expanding family to understanding a younger sibling’s illness, the characters’ storylines come together around that orange tree.

Taking place over the course of a day and a half, Joanne Rocklin’s masterful novel deftly builds a story about family, childhood anxieties, and the importance of connection. In the end the fate of the tree (and the kids who care for it) reminds us of the magic of the everyday and of the rich history all around us.


Praise for One Day and One Amazing Morning on Orange Street
STARRED REVIEWS
“Unfolding in one day’s time, the story recounts how secrets are revealed, curiosity is satisfied and wishing becomes hope because the spirit and ties of friendship and community are resilient and strong. Fully realized characters and setting definitely make this one morning on Orange Street amazing.”
–Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Fascinating and thought-provoking, the writing has a gentle cadence, richness in detail, and is charged with emotion. The book, like the oranges on the Orange Street tree, presents segments of life that are both sweet and tart and sure to satisfy."
–School Library Journal, starred review

“A touching story, beautifully told in multiple viewpoints.”
–Booklist

“Each chapter focalizes the third-person narration through a particular child, and the book weaves the singular tales into a larger story about a community that is pleasingly quirky but still believable. Readers and parents looking for some wholesome sweetness will want to make a visit to Orange Street.”
–The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

AWARD:
Pennsylvania School Librarians Association (PSLA) Young Adult Top Forty list
Joanne Rocklin
This gem of a novel takes place in Pittsburgh in 1952. Franny Katzenback, while recovering from polio, reads and falls in love with the brand-new book Charlotte’s Web. Bored and lonely and yearning for a Charlotte of her own, Franny starts up a correspondence with an eloquent flea named Fleabrain who lives on her dog’s tail. While Franny struggles with physical therapy and feeling left out of her formerly active neighborhood life, Fleabrain is there to take her on adventures based on his extensive reading. It’s a touching, funny story set in the recent past, told with Rocklin’s signature wit and thoughtfulness.

Awards
Bank Street Children's Books "Best Books of the Year," Fiction Ages 9-12
Sydney Taylor Notable Book for Older Readers

Praise for Fleabrain Loves Franny
"Heartwarming and endlessly funny, Fleabrain Loves Franny will delight readers of all ages. Rocklin’s sharp wit and exuberant writing style are refreshing. This book is not to be missed."
--VOYA

"Franny—a compassionate, thoughtful and sympathetic protagonist—is believably erratic in her emotions and reflections on her illness and its effects on her previously carefree life."
--Publishers Weekly

"Rocklin perfectly captures the era of 1952 and creates a sympathetic, realistic character in Franny, who begins to accept her condition, rejoin her friends and even protest her school’s inaccessibility."
--Kirkus Reviews

"Comedic and philosophical, readers will find multiple levels to enjoy."
--School Library Journal
 
Joanne Rocklin
When a mysterious man arrives one day on Orange Street, the children who live on the block try to find out who he is and why he’s there. Little do they know that his story—and the story of a very old orange tree—connects to each of their personal worries in ways they never could have imagined. From impressing friends to dealing with an expanding family to understanding a younger sibling’s illness, the characters’ storylines come together around that orange tree.

Taking place over the course of a day and a half, Joanne Rocklin’s masterful novel deftly builds a story about family, childhood anxieties, and the importance of connection. In the end the fate of the tree (and the kids who care for it) reminds us of the magic of the everyday and of the rich history all around us.


Praise for One Day and One Amazing Morning on Orange Street
STARRED REVIEWS
“Unfolding in one day’s time, the story recounts how secrets are revealed, curiosity is satisfied and wishing becomes hope because the spirit and ties of friendship and community are resilient and strong. Fully realized characters and setting definitely make this one morning on Orange Street amazing.”
–Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Fascinating and thought-provoking, the writing has a gentle cadence, richness in detail, and is charged with emotion. The book, like the oranges on the Orange Street tree, presents segments of life that are both sweet and tart and sure to satisfy."
–School Library Journal, starred review

“A touching story, beautifully told in multiple viewpoints.”
–Booklist

“Each chapter focalizes the third-person narration through a particular child, and the book weaves the singular tales into a larger story about a community that is pleasingly quirky but still believable. Readers and parents looking for some wholesome sweetness will want to make a visit to Orange Street.”
–The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

AWARD:
Pennsylvania School Librarians Association (PSLA) Young Adult Top Forty list
Joanne Rocklin
This gem of a novel takes place in Pittsburgh in 1952. Franny Katzenback, while recovering from polio, reads and falls in love with the brand-new book Charlotte’s Web. Bored and lonely and yearning for a Charlotte of her own, Franny starts up a correspondence with an eloquent flea named Fleabrain who lives on her dog’s tail. While Franny struggles with physical therapy and feeling left out of her formerly active neighborhood life, Fleabrain is there to take her on adventures based on his extensive reading. It’s a touching, funny story set in the recent past, told with Rocklin’s signature wit and thoughtfulness.

Awards
Bank Street Children's Books "Best Books of the Year," Fiction Ages 9-12
Sydney Taylor Notable Book for Older Readers

Praise for Fleabrain Loves Franny
"Heartwarming and endlessly funny, Fleabrain Loves Franny will delight readers of all ages. Rocklin’s sharp wit and exuberant writing style are refreshing. This book is not to be missed."
--VOYA

"Franny—a compassionate, thoughtful and sympathetic protagonist—is believably erratic in her emotions and reflections on her illness and its effects on her previously carefree life."
--Publishers Weekly

"Rocklin perfectly captures the era of 1952 and creates a sympathetic, realistic character in Franny, who begins to accept her condition, rejoin her friends and even protest her school’s inaccessibility."
--Kirkus Reviews

"Comedic and philosophical, readers will find multiple levels to enjoy."
--School Library Journal
 
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