Monday, December 7, 2009

So What About the Cat That Made Nothing Something Again?

This is a little fable-type story, even a parable of sorts, that is written for children but also targeted for adults. Personally, I found it delightful, but I don't want to base my reviews solely on personal reactions.

A cat-with-no-name lives in a medieval type town in a country where evil, greedy sponges have sucked the moisture out of everything and everyone. They didn't kill them, but the lack of moisture took the important signs of life away. It left boring, dry people with no interests, no love and no energy. This cat got tired of a boring existence with no petting and no one concerned about him, so he decided one day to try to bring the water back. The story goes on to follow the cat's adventures all the way to the king's castle and back.

It's fairly easy for adults to make a connection between this water and Jesus as the Living Water. As the cat travels, he finds many examples of how people and all life, even trees, were affected when their life-giving substance was taken from them. All the good was gone, leaving squabbling, apathy, folly, lack of creativity, no joy and general misery. Most people didn't even seem to notice the sad condition they were in; they just went through the drudgery of their existence like automatons. And it isn't only people that are affected. Along the way, he tries to climb a tree that has turned to stone. This tree has an importance later in the story, but I don't want to give any more details here.

The narration is clever and witty with some unexpected events along the way. A couple of surprises for me had to do with a seed which reminded me immediately of the Parable of the Sower that Jesus told. The parable was there, but it went further. That's all I'm saying... I saw many places in the story that would be prime for discussions with a child who is reading the story, possibilities for discussing several character points and themes from Scripture. The way it is written, it would be easy to just slide into such discussions.

[Little SPOILER] Yeah, spoiler, but you are probably expecting it. The best part of the story is all the changes that happen once the cat achieves his goal, changes that again present some great talking points for parent, or even a discussion group with a class of young readers. Chief among these changes: the transformation of the cat himself. Yes, he had a desire to seek the water and made the effort to find it, but even before it was possible, he had to come to terms with the Creator of all. It was only then that the miracles of life could begin.

Back to a personal note, this was one of my favorite reads this year, juvenile though it may be. I think that the themes are so well expressed, so cleverly written, that it transcends a mere children's tale. This is one that I would hope becomes well-known and often-read.

ISBN-10: 1440485275
ISBN-13: 978-1440485275

ASIN: B001P05M8O (for Kindle edition)
Available at Amazon in paperback ($6.99) and Kindle edition (presently $2.99)

You can learn more at James D. Maxon's website, and even get a copy of the book (free download) there.

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of the story for review purposes, although I will not give a favorable review of anything if I don't really mean it.

Check out these other member blogs this week for more info.

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