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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A compelling story: Trying to find your place in the world.
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...
Published on 13 Jan 2003 by B. Yeoh

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars My son enjoyed it
My son, aged 8 had been reading this as his class book in school. It is too complex for him to read by himself, but we have read some of it together. To be honest, I found it a little confusing and it's not really my thing, but he seemed to understand it and enjoy it. We have since ordered the second book.
Published 5 months ago by Han


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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A compelling story: Trying to find your place in the world., 13 Jan 2003
By 
B. Yeoh - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Varjak Paw (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
5.0 out of 5 stars Cool Cats in Action, 24 Jan 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Varjak Paw (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
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic & gripping bed time read for children!, 26 July 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: Varjak Paw (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
5.0 out of 5 stars What a Great Book- AMAZING, 25 July 2004
By 
This review is from: Varjak Paw (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
5.0 out of 5 stars spell binding, 23 Jan 2003
This review is from: Varjak Paw (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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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Genuinely creepy page turner, 16 May 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Varjak Paw (Paperback)
I read this as an adult choosing books for a children's library and highly recommend it for the older reader - probably about 9 up. I read it myself in one sitting, staying up way past my bedtime!
The book tells the story of Varjak, a kitten who longs for adventure and to escape from the confines of his complacent 'pure-bred' family. Sinister happenings mean that sooner than he thinks Varjak has to fight for survival, and also to find out what is really worth fighting for. What are the terrifying 'Vanishings'? And can Varjak learn the 'Way' of his warrior ancestor in time to save his friends?
The mix of fantasy with important themes, such as the impossiblity of ignoring evil while remaining good oneself, is never too heavy-handed. The illustrations are also excellent and evoke a real sense of danger. One critisism is a significant loose end which seems to be forgotten about at the exciting finale. But lets hope this just means there will be a sequel soon...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cat spirit within us all !!!!, 22 Feb 2003
By 
Z the donkey from the UAE (Abu Dhabi, UAE United Arab Emirates) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Varjak Paw (Hardcover)
This was a book I could not put down. It speaks volumes about courage, spirit, adventure and the great spirit within us all. Yet it is a simple story of a cat who must find his way, a book that can be appreciated by those of any age.
I read it on the beach and under the zig zag palms that Varjak seems to long for, and I learn't a great deal about those palms and about ones place in the fabric of the environment we live in.
I feel there is a great deal of wisdom within the book, and everytime you read it you will learn something new and appreciate a different view of life and the world we live in. It is also a special story that can be likened to age old fairy tales and contemporary masters.
Buy this book it is a welcome addition to anyone's library and is timeless....
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cool Feline!, 19 Jan 2003
This review is from: Varjak Paw (Hardcover)
I stumbled across this book, and it's really really wonderful. It would make an excellent gift for anyone that loves cats, or even someone who hated them but is interested in what lies below the surface of the feline nature of reality! I was able to read it with my kids (who also loved it) but enjoy it on an adult level at the same time. And the illustrations are beautiful.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Reading!!, 27 April 2005
By 
J C Wall (Sheffield, S Yorks United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Varjak Paw (Paperback)
I read this book to my son for bedtime reading. It is a gripping story, well illustrated, easy to read in bite sized chapters and written from a 'cat's eye view' in a truly brilliant manner. I would recommend this book very highly!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Varjak Paw - a new classic, 30 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Varjak Paw (Paperback)
My step-daughter aged 8 read 85 pages in one night. I think that speaks for itself. The book was never out of her hands till it was finished then she begged me to read it. I did and so did her dad. Now for the follow up.
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