Review of the Week

Rocklin, Joanne. The Five Lives of Our Cat Zook. Fic, .Amulet/Abrams, 2012. 240p. $16.95 978-1-4197-0192-4.    HIGH ADDITIONAL.   GRADES 3-6.

Still recovering from the loss of her father two years earlier, Oona, a perceptive theory-creating whopper-telling ten-year-old girl, now faces the illness of her beloved cat Zook as well as an unwelcome stranger beginning a relationship with her mother. Oona makes up stories about Zook’s previous five lives in order to help her little brother, and herself, deal with the harsh realities of grief and change. Local Oakland author Rocklin (One Day and One Amazing Morning on Orange Street, 2011) creates a believable cast of characters who demonstrate the power that stories and community have to help make sense of hard times. Equally funny and touching, this heartwarming story affirms that even lives lost “continue on in lots and lots of ways.” The diverse “multi-culti” Oakland neighborhood Oona lives in will feel very familiar to Bay Area readers.

Cassy Lee, Cragmont School

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