The Five Lives of Our Cat Zook by Joanne Rocklin is an excellent realistic ficiton book for middle-grade readers. Right at the start of the book, readers know that Zook is sick–probably sick enough that he won’t get better. Deep-down, ten-year-old Oona knows it, too, and her goal is to get Zook out of the vet’s office by any means necessary, so that she and her little brother, Fred, can spend as much time with him as possible. To make things easier for Fred, Oona assures him that cats have nine lives and proceeds to tell stories about Zook’s previous lives.
At the same time Zook is struggling with his health, Oona is still struggling with the death of their father, which was from cancer and more than two years ago. She refuses to wear anything but her dad’s old sweatshirt. She hates that her mother has a new boyfriend, Dylan, whom she dubs “the villain” and imagines all manner of terrible things about him. Yet, she has a family and neighbors who love her and help her manage her difficult feelings. While there is no happy ending for Zook, Oona is able to take steps towards moving on and accepting new people and new situations into her life.
Here’s the story of how Rocklin got the idea to write The Five Lives of Our Cat Zook.
And here’s a great trailer:
And this makes the 20th and last book featured in my 2015 Rebecca Caudill Roundup!
Other 2015 Rebecca Caudill Reading Roundup Posts
- A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park
- Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Not Reading by Tommy Greenwald
- Dogs on Duty by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent
- Unstoppable by Tim Green
- Chuck Close: Face Book by Chuck Close
- The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
- Almost Home by Joan Bauer
- Bomb by Steve Sheinkin
- Never Say Die by Will Hobbs
- Saving Zasha by Randi Barrow
- Ungifted by Gordon Korman
- Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool
- The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen
- A Diamond in the Desert by Kathryn Fitzmaurice
- Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George
- One for the Murphys by Linda Mullaly Hunt
- The Clockwork Three by Matthew J. Kirby
- Legend by Marie Lu
- Slob by Ellen Potter