Book Review: Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World, by Vicki Myron with Bret Witter

September 19, 2010
Title: Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World
Author: Vicki Myron
Genre: Non Fiction, cats
Format: Hardcover
Year Published: 2008
Source: I purchased this book.

This now-famous book is about Dewey Readmore Books, the orange cat who was the ambassador for the Spencer, Iowa public library.

One bitterly cold morning in January 1988, library staff found Dewey inside the metal book drop box outside the library.
Vicki Myron, the author and the library director says:

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.


Despite being half-frozen, Dewey still seemed to love people, even if someone was responsible for throwing him into a freezing box filled with books. He was so friendly that he became the unofficial greeter at the town library. He loved to sit on the laps of patrons. Dewey became the toast of Spencer, Iowa, a town struggling to escape the farm problems that devastated rural towns in the 1980's.

Soon Dewey started getting attention around all of Iowa. Here he is starring on Iowa Public Television:
 



Dewey is a charming book about a cat who became a beloved symbol of happiness and hope to a struggling town. He became famous throughout the United States and in many part of the world.

When Dewey died, obituaries were published around the world. After the book was published, CBS Sunday Morning did a piece on him (be patient, the video keeps buffering).




The book has become so popular that there have been versions written for children. I highly recommend this book. Adults and children can enjoy Dewey's story together.

You can read more about Dewey at the Spencer Library website, and there is a wonderful website devoted to Dewey. Dewey even has a page on Wikipedia.

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