A FEW REVIEWS OF SASSYCAT
GOOD READING, October 2005
Sassycat: The Night of the Dead
Sassycat is conceited and smart. She believes she’s Top Cat and her attitude trumpets this belief. She also adores her mistress and friend, Rebecca Naylor.
***** five stars
Sassycat is a strokable tabby and protector of all human beings, whose skill as a protector is put to the test when a strange black force creeps from the cemetery and into her family’s home every night. With the help of a menagerie of local animals—including dogs, rats, possums, lizards and even a cockatoo—Sassy must solve the mystery and ensure the safety of her human friends. Harland tells the story in short accessible chapters that alternate between Sassycat’s voice and third person narrative. He has given Sassycat a very real and entertaining personality, bringing her and the other animals to life masterfully. Each animal its own distinct personality, often more completely explored than that of the human characters.
In the midst of the mystery, Rebecca is also coming to terms with the death of her father. Her brother is absorbed in his girlfriend and her mother is working to support the family; Rebecca must cope with her nightmares and the unexplained black force with only Sassycat as an ally …
Sassycat is a page-turning read—full of mystery, suspense and, of course, those fascinating characters. It is sure to find an audience with upper primary fans of Goosebumps-type horror and animal storries. Recommended for both school and public libraries.
READING TIME, Vol 50, No 2
An entertaining and scary ghost story, mostly told in the voice of Sassycat (chapters indicated with pawprints) and with some told from the viewpoint of her human, Rebecca. After the Naylor family father dies, Rebecca, her mother and siblings move back to Dad’s old country cottage across the stream from the cemetery. Sassycat is at first disdainful of the strange behaviour of the local animals—two dogs, a lizard, a cockatoo, a possum and four crazy rats. However she begins to sense that there is danger threatening her family—a danger too big for one sassy cat to deal with. How the animals combine their assorted talents to defeat the creeping menace and help protect Rebecca from the real horrors of her nightmares makes for a delightfully thrilling read. The original plot combines humour. animal antics, a very vain cat and some very scary apparitions. Recommended for upper primary/middle school readers.
A REACTION FROM PAULA VOLSKY, BEST-SELLING US FANTASY AUTHOR
The story was entirely delightful, and one of the best things about it (I'll bet everyone who reads it says the same) is the perfect depiction of cat personality. Sassycat IS a true cat, egotistical and irresistible as real cats are. She's a wonderful creation. I also loved several of the other characters, particularly the rats. Don't know whether THEY expressed true rat nature or not, but their cock-eyed optimism, their lunatic hopes of achieving cuddly pethood in the face of all natural disadvantages, was tremendous. (i.e., regarding teeth: "Yellow is cute and colourful...VERY cute." "Scars are cute too..." Great stuff.) The mixture of strong characterization, suspense, action, and offbeat humor creates a really first-rate story--and of course, your imagery--the wild, bizarre, uncanny, wholly distinctive word pictures that you paint--well, nobody does it like you. You are a remarkable and wonderful writer--one of the very best, in my opinion--and I think your work will be read and enjoyed by many for a very long time to come.
contact author Richard Harland: email@example.com
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