by Marguerite Keiffer

"By now, I had totally bonded with Margie and she to me. A cat love story was about to begin."

Deacon is a stray cat, emaciated and holding on tenuously to his own life when he is discovered by Margie, the author as a young girl. In this true story of a girl and her cherished pet cat, Deacon must learn to adapt to living in a domesticated environment after having to fend for himself and survive doing whatever it took. Margie and Deacon quickly fall in love with one another, but pet ownership is never simple. From having to learn how to walk on a leash to a notable episode in which Deacon almost single-handedly ruins a family Christmas celebration, the girl and the cat are nearly inseparable, learning how to live and love together. Even a run-in with a hungry and angry family of bears cannot separate Margie and Deacon once they found each other.

With a variance of short vignettes and bright, cute, full-page illustrations, Deacon is a perfect book to share with a child who is desperate to own a pet. While the bond between child and animal is unmistakable, this story goes a long way to highlight the responsibilities and challenges that come with pet adoption. From medical concerns to the natural, wild urges that animals undergo, this is a story about forgiveness and tolerance as much as it highlights all the best parts of owning a cat. Taking place in the first half of the twentieth century, the author tells her actual story of owning and caring for Deacon, often using a first-person style to show events from the cat’s point of view. While some of the circumstances may have changed for young readers today, the concerns and responsibilities are still the same, and this book is perfect for addressing those issues and understanding them before they occur.

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