by Anne Ogle

"I vomited, spraying yellow feathers on everyone."

Benjamin is a spunky cat, full of life and personality. This fictional cat is likely based on the author's real one because he is sad one moment and hilarious the next, just like what most pet owners observe in their own beloved pets.

The story starts out sob-worthy when a heartless family abandons their cat, Benjamin, and drives away with all of their belongings in a moving van. The message of being responsible for one’s pet hits home. But the tears won’t last long because Benjamin is a hoot. "We hit every speed bump on the road. Ouch lady, where did you get your drivers license?" howls Benjamin later in the story while on the way from the Oregon Humane Society and heading to his forever home.

This charming book would benefit from more illustrations, especially as Benjamin's screams, meows, and howls sketched to life would be magnificent. Still, readers will love Benjamin so much that they will undoubtedly draw their own mental pictures. However, talented writing can convincingly add voice to a voiceless animal as Ogle does with Benjamin even without accompanying illustrations. The prose is superb and light. The imaginative dialog between cat and humans is hysterical, warm, and witty.

Benjamin lives happily ever after, so reading this to a young child is appropriate, even encouraged. Third graders can read it for themselves. And, at all ages, readers are reminded that animals have feelings deserving of human compassion and respect. The best books jolt readers emotionally. If Benjamin doesn't bring you to tears and then make you laugh out loud, you might be made of stone.

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