Thursday, November 24, 2011

Quaky Cat by Diana Noonan

Rating 4 out of 5
Publication: December 2010
ISBN: 978-1-77543-029-2
Age: 3-7 years

"On a cold Christchurch morning, while the city was sleeping, before the birds roused him with twitters and cheeping, curled up on the end of his friend Emma's bed, Tiger woke with a start ...and a feeling of dread. 

He twitched his long whiskers and sniffed at the air. Danger was close, but what was it - and where? Then a voice in his head, one he'd not heard before, shouted 'Run for your life Tiger! Make for the door!'

Tiger fled from the house with a leap and a bound as, louder than thunder, from deep underground, came a roar and a shudder and terrible shaking! Around him, the city was rolling and quaking." Pages 1-3.

In September 2010 a 7.4 magnitude earthquake rocked the Cantabury region in New Zealand. Not even six months later in February 2011 the same region, and in particular Christchurch (which suffered wide spread devastation) was struck again by a magnitude 6.3 earthquake. This book however was written in response to the 2010 earthquake, and was relased shortly before the second devastating earthquake. My parents travelled to New Zealand in July this year and picked up this book for my little monkey. I am glad they did as 50% of proceeds from the sale of the book went to local charity and it gave my son a beautiful book that dealt with an unfortunately sad time in New Zealand's history.

Quaky Cat is  about Tiger,  a little cat whose world is turned upside down when during an earthquake he bolts from the house and becomes lost.  The book is his story about trying to find his way home to his beloved Emma, through the devastated city.

The story deals with emotions that children would more then likely feel after an earthquake has hit their town. Tiger's feelings of fear, isolation and sadness are explored as he makes his way back to his house. While you would think this would make for a depressing book it is not at all. In fact the book is written  is filled with hope and love as the quote below demonstrates:

"Home is the giving and helping and sharing.
When a city is crumbling, then home is the caring." 

With a lyrical, rhyming narrative, the book is easy to read to children. It also makes it the story simple for them to follow. It is a beautiful, haunting, and happy story that makes you feel good about the world at the end of the story.

The illustrations are colourful but in a way (for me) creepy. Perhaps creepy is not the right word, erie perhaps is better? Only Tiger and his owner Emma have any real detail, everything else is in silhouette. This suits the tone of the book and highlights Tiger on his journey. The use of colours are interesting as well and subtle. When Tiger is scared and alone darker colours such as blues and greens are used but when Tiger is happy and safe warmer colours like yellow and orange are used.

If you are interested in purchasing this book you will be pleased to know funds from worldwide sales of Quaky Cat are going to the Christchurch Mayoral Earthquake Appeal administered by the New Zealand Red Cross. (The author and illustrator royalties will continue to be donated to their chosen Christchurch charities).

I highly recommend this book for anyone with children who have gone through an earthquake but at the same time any child can understand the messages this lovely book has to offer.

I am not sure where you can purchase it outside of New Zealand or Australia. But if you wish to purchase this book Fishpond ship internationally and around Australia.

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