Back in November I signed up for the Holiday Cat Book Exchange hosted by Cheshire Loves Karma. Each participant was paired up with another to exchange a book about cats, by cats, or featuring cats. I was a bit hesitant at first because since I buy and receive so many cat books, how would my partner ever find a book for me that I don't already have? But still...cats, Christmas, and books...I just couldn't resist.
Then late one Sunday in early December I returned home from a long and tiring day of Christmas shopping and noticed a package from Amazon sticking out of my mailbox. I couldn't think of anything I had ordered recently, and was especially surprised by the Sunday delivery, so I opened it up to find this little treasure from my wonderful Holiday Cat Book Exchange partner, Bonnie and her cats Lily and Luna (@LilyLuWhoT on Twitter):
From the publisher: Raphael's Story is the true tale of an abandoned kitten who found his forever home. Inspired by the difficult journey of her own cat, Raphael, the author has crafted a complete tale based on the sketchy facts of her cat's life before he came to her. The story of Raphael and those of all the other animals in this book are true. The author uses the journey of the 'little orange kitten' to call attention to several issue related to animal well being in the modern world, such as the plight of feral cats, overpopulation, declawing, cruelty and abandonment.
Everyone who has a passion for cats and their welfare must read this book. The story starts as Raphael (which became his name once he found his forever home...everyone he meets up with names him something new) and his litter mate Moo are adopted by a little girl and her father. From the beginning it's obvious things will go very badly for the small kittens, and sure enough, when the humans are evicted from their apartment, the cats are left behind to care for themselves. When they're finally discovered they end up on the streets, and after tragedy strikes Raphael is all alone and forced to live under a porch until a kind tenant in the home takes him in. She already has a cat and her landlord won't allow her another, but she arranges for him to be taken to Cat Ladies' Rescue. Once at the rescue he meets many new friends and learns all of the sad stories of their lives before and their hopes for the future in a forever home.
Along the way Raphael has a mysterious dream where a sad tortoiseshell cat tells him to watch for a very special lady. The meaning of this dream is revealed at the very end, and while you absolutely *must* read the book, I will just say that it hit me directly in the heart and left me feeling like I had received a message from Truffles. This is a book I will never forget. I had never heard of it prior to receiving it as a gift, so I know that I was meant to read it and that it was heaven sent.
Raphael's Story by Deborah Courville can be purchased here.
From the publisher: The old Siamese Ptolemy was alongside his master when a star of unusual brightness was seen in the heavens, indicating an event of momentous significance, and leading to a great quest. Ptolemy must watch over his frail master, so he sends three young cats to journey in his place and to fulfill the prophecy: The three finding the one.
*Abishag, a sturdy reliable cat who has never shirked her duty.
*Kezia, a beautiful young tabby, delicate and a bit vain, but of good heart.
*And Ira, younger and bolder than the others, with a temper.
Accompanying them is a fourth traveler—the rat Asmodeus, who can hear of no glorious thing without wanting to spoil it. Together, the unlikely band will cover many miles and have many dangerous adventures. And finally they will arrive in a far land, where the star bends close to the earth over a humble stable…
If this isn't already considered a kitty Christmas classic, it should be! The story of the three wise men, as told by cats as they ride in baskets on camels on the long journey, is sure to make anyone feel the wonder of the Christmas season and the true reason why we celebrate. Along the way they make new friends and learn where they are destined to be after they visit the Messiah. Each cat has their own distinct personality and I was touched by each one. Their awe when they finally come face to face with the baby Jesus is especially heartwarming. I even loved the trouble-making rat that traveled with them! The cover is stunning and the whimsical illustrations that accompany the story and just adorable. I can easily see myself re-reading this book each Christmas season!
Three Wise Cats by Harold Konstantelos and Terri Jenkins-Brady can be purchased here.