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Varjak Paw Library Binding – May 2003


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Product details

  • Library Binding: 256 pages
  • Publisher: David Fickling Books (May 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385750307
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385750301
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 2.4 x 23.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,870,336 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"A beguiling tale that sticks in the memory. The cat's whiskers" The Sunday Times "Stylish, original and inventive, Varjak Paw is a modern children's classic" "Dazzling" The New York Times "The book is compulsive reading; we are with Varjak every step of his way, willing him to succeed. Independent readers of 9 upwards will treasure it, not least for its illustrations, and some will camp out on the publisher's doorstep for the sequel" Ann Hay, The School Librarian "The cat magic mystique is brilliant" -- Richard Adams Author of Watership Down

Book Description

The best-selling story of Varjak Paw - winner of a Gold Smarties prize. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By B. Yeoh on 13 Jan. 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book is great. I read it cover to cover in one afternoon. If you like compelling story telling, intriguing characters that leave you wanting for more and ideas that make you think; then this is for you.
The story telling has the fine craft of someone like Phillip Pullman (must have been all those drafts) but also has the imaginative quirks of someone perhaps a bit more off beat like Neil Gaiman. The book draws on elements from the best of story telling in a coming-of-age way. Varjak goes on an inner journey from confused, insecure cat, who is uncertain of his place in the world (isn’t this all of us?) to a cat who has learnt to trust in himself and friends and that pain and joy are part of life.
On the way, he finds out that not all cats get food in a bowl, not all humans are friendly, that things (especially dogs) might not be how they first appear, and of course how to fight.
The illustrations also add to the atmosphere of Varjak’s world (as might be expected from such a highly respected artist as McKean) and are well worth spending time over. Without giving too much away, other moments I liked: Varjak hunting, the interactions of Varjak and Holly (might there be love in the air?) and the empathy between the fearsome black cats. Some readers may find the dream device to speak to Jalal (the ancestor cat who does much of the teaching) a bit “seen that too much already in other books” however it does work quite effectively
The book sets the scene for more Varjak adventures and I look forward to the next one. I’d like to know more about the other gangs of cats, the history of Jalal and where Varjak is going to next in his life as he continues to find out what it means to be Varjak Paw. Like how we all have to learn who we are and our possible place in the world.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 24 Jan. 2003
Format: Hardcover
Varjak is the coolest feline for kids since Disney created the Aristocats. He may start off as a dreamy young Mesopotamian Blue from a sheltered family, but soon he learns the mean streets of the city as well as Top Cat. He wins the trust of the tough street cat Holly and finds Cludge the dog (but not before some extremely amusing conversations with cars, which he thinks are dogs) who help him win over his family and protect them, and the other animals of the city, from the sinister Gentlemen.
Varjak is in the great tradition of children's literature's unlikely heroes. But he demonstrates that his difference is his power, and through the dream-guidance of his ancestor Jalal, who teaches him the Way of the Paw, he becomes a courageous and generous leader. The book leaves you wondering about Varjak's future adventures -- will he and Holly become more than friends? Will the city be safe now the Gentlemen are gone? And will we see more of the terrifying and intriguing Sally Bones, Holly's arch-enemy. I defy even the most grown-up spine not to tingle at Dave McKean's eerily gorgeous illustration of Sally, brilliant white against a black background.
McKean's illustrations, particularly of the dream sequences, will bring the book to life for younger children and fascinate older readers who, like me, are fans of McKean's work. Their integration into the page is superb, and they leave plenty of room for the young reader's imagination.
My six-year-old trial subject loved the book so much that he is busy creating his own next adventure of Varjak in black crayon, and trying to learn the Way of the Paw with its subtle lessons of observation, self-knowledge and teamwork. So I say hurry up and write the next one, SF Said, or he will beat you to it!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 26 July 2005
Format: Paperback
I would highly recommend reading this book to children as young as 5 or 6. I thought the descriptive language would be too challenging for my 6 year old daughter but after the first chapter she was begging me to keep reading and has never been so eager to go to bed. This was the first novel I read to my child and although Dave McKean's illustations are not to my taste my daughter liked them. This book has opened up a whole new world of discovery for my daughter. The author SF Said has taken a subject matter which modern children can, especially boys (or tom boys), easily relate to and using exciting langauge in a very unpompus way challenges children to really visualise and become part of this story.
This is a fantastic story for adults and children alike. We can't wait to read Varjak Paw The Outlaw.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By amelia on 25 July 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is a great read for all aged kids, I have a friend who read it at the age of 8, I wizzed through it like a rash and im 12! Its a great summer read, to read by the pool or to read curled up by a fire in winter! The storyline is amazing and makes you have alot more respect for cats you see living on the streets. Vajak Paws adventure is really gripping and you cant put this book down! There are funny parts, happy parts scary parts and there are sad parts which are the 4 key ingrediances for a great book! I was hooked and i felt so sorry for Vajak Paw being alone in the big dark and wet city after living like a prince with the coutessa. All together I give this book a outstanding 5 stars!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By "preti" on 23 Jan. 2003
Format: Hardcover
I read this book from cover to cover late into the night. The world from Varjak's eyes is a beautiful, terrifying and ultimately captivating place where he must learn how to trust himself and in turn how to chose between those he can trust and those who do not deserve his trust. The power of Varjak's journey lies in the detail the author supplies; the cat's eye view of the size and shape of the world is mesmeric. It is enhanced by the subtle and twisted comic-style illustrations; white and black tones are put to their best use to challenge the reader's preconceptions. This is a world where the most familiar things are the most dangerous to the kitten's identity, and nothing is quite what it seems. The philosophy of the book and the shades of love for friends, family and self it explores left me entranced. I can't wait for the next installment.
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