Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World | Book Review
Original Publication Date: 2008
Genres: Animals, Non-Fiction
Source: I purchased this book
Dewey’s story starts in the worst possible way. On the coldest night of the year in Spencer, Iowa, at only a few weeks old–a critical age for kittens–he was stuffed into the return book slot of the Spencer Public Library. He was found the next morning by library director Vicki Myron. The kitten won her heart, and the hearts of the staff, by pulling himself up and hobbling on frostbitten feet to nudge each of them in a gesture of thanks and love.
This now-famous book is about Dewey Readmore Books.
He was the orange cat who was the ambassador for the Spencer, Iowa public library. He became famous because while most of the town was delighted with him, there were always some people who didn’t believe the cat should be in the library.
Table of Contents
He Was Found Freezing In the Library Book Drop Box
It started on a bitterly cold morning in January 1988.
The library staff found a tiny orange kitten inside the metal book drop box outside the library.
Librarian director Vicki Mayron writes:
I was still catching my breath when I saw the kitten. It was huddled in the front left corner of the box, its head down, its legs tucked underneath it, trying to appear as small as possible. The books were piled haphazardly to the top of the box, partially hiding it from view. I lifted one gingerly for a better look. The kitten looked up at me, slowly and sadly. Then it lowered its head and sank down into its hole. It wasn’t trying to appear tough.
It wasn’t trying to hide, I don’t even think it was scared. It was just hoping to be saved. I know melting can be a cliche, but I think that’s what actually happened to me at that moment: I lost every bone in my body. I am not a mushy person. I’m a single mother and a farm girl who has steered her life through hard times, but this was so, so . . . unexpected.
The cat still seemed to love people, even if someone was responsible for throwing him into a freezing box filled with books.
The cat was so friendly that he became the unofficial greeter at the town library. He would happily sit on the laps of patrons.
He became the toast of Spencer, Iowa, a town struggling to escape the farm problems that devastated rural towns in the 1980s.
Soon he started getting attention around all of Iowa.
The famous library cat starred on Iowa Public Television in this delightful video:
This is a charming book about a cat who became a beloved symbol of happiness and hope in a struggling town.
He became famous throughout the United States and in many parts of the world.
I highly recommend this book. Adults and children can enjoy Dewey’s story together.
You can read the website devoted to Dewey and all the books.
If you liked this post about a cat, please read my review of Homer’s Odyssey: A Fearless Feline Tale, or How I Learned About Love and Life with a Blind Wonder Cat by Gwen Cooper.
For more posts about public libraries, please read The New York Public Library Turns 125! and The New York Public Library Liones Turn 100!