Saturday, April 11, 2009

Starlight Animal Rescue: Wild Cat by Dandi Daley Mackall

Starlight Animal Rescue: Wild Cat by Dandi Daley Mackall
Geared Towards: Ages 8-12
Published By: Tyndale House
Publication Date: January 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4143-1270-5

Finding books that are both wholesome and entertaining can sometimes be difficult. Especially at the impressionable age of 8-12 years, we want our daughters reading books that will uplift them and encourage their spirit. Certainly everything doesn't have to have a full on Christian perspective. However, for a young Christian girl finding a book that does yet still matches a more secular book in story and print is a big bonus. Such is what you can expect to find with Dandi Daley Mackall's Starlight Animal Rescue series.

Starlight Animal Rescue is an animal rescue ranch. Amoung its many residents are abused and unwated horses, cats, and dogs that have been taken in from uncertain circumstances. Run by the Coolidge family, the rescue is more than just a safe haven for troubled animals. It's also a home filled with loved for those kids who have no place to go, fit in, or call home.

Wild Cat, which happens to be book 3 in this particular junvenile fiction series from Mackall, introduces us, the readers, to Kat a young girl taken in by Chester "Popeye" and Dr Annie Coolidge. Kat is 12-years old, and struggling to beat the odds. Unlike most kids her age she is small and frail, a victim of cancer. With news of Kat's adoption date looming on the horizon, she is both excited and terrified. God has blessed her with the Coolidges, an amazing family, and she loves them dearly. But being so sick and weak all the time, Kat worries that she isn't deserving enough to be graced with the family name. Everyone else in the family from her sister and brothers to her Dad and Mom, as she has affectionately come to call them, pulls a great weight to make sure that the Starlight Animal Rescue runs as smoothly as possible. And even the smallest jobs at the rescue can be very unnerving and, at times, impossible for Kat. The medicine she takes makes her sick and weak, but she determines not to let it stop her from earning the right to the family name. Everyone else has his or her place, and if she's going to be a Coolidge she determines she too must find her own place within the ranks.

According to the word WILD can mean any of the following:
  • living in a state of nature; not tamed; not domesticated
  • frantic or distracted; crazy
  • unrestrained, untrammeled, or unbridled
  • amazing or incredible
  • intensely eager or enthusiastic
  • Cards. (of a card) having its value decided by the wishes of the players
I find these definitions very interesting when taken in to consideration up against this book's title.

At first readers might assume the name, Wild Cat, is in reference to cat with the beautiful blue eyes and long white fur on the cover. This correlation could indeed be most accurate. In the story, Kat does spend a good amount of time trying to understand and figure out the inner mental workings of this darling animal. I could see definition number four standing in here. Perhaps, however, there's more to the title than just the obvious reference.

It could also be that the title draws inspiration from the school project Kat finds herself working on. Different from anything she'd ever imagined doing for a grade, Kat and her partner start their own cat clinic. Playing the role of doctor, Kat must put her knowledge to good use so that she can help her fellow students train their cats to be less frantic, more restrained, and more domesticated.

Or maybe still the title refers to the main character herself, Kat- aka Katharine. She is just weeks away from having her adoption in to the Coolidge family finalized. She's intensely eager to make the family proud and earn her right to own their name. The Coolidges love Kat and wouldn't have her any other way, but she feels that she should and could be doing more. Could it be that the title is derived from her incredible need to feel like a equal partner in the family and at the rescue? Is it possible the book's title, Wild Cat, ascribes itself to Kat who perchance feels her value is determined by the amount of work she does at the rescue and the amount of worth the family allots her?

This is a book I can not wait for my daughters to be able to read. It's currently too old for them, but I know that this is a book worth saving for them. Kat's strength and perseverance are edifying. Her immense trust in God is thought provoking and poignant. Filled with many references to God and the scriptures, I was really pleased with how this story came together. I can definitely see this being a great teaching tool for young girls because through the story they'll come to understand compassion, learn the Word, and simply be uplifted in their own personal lives.

OUR RATING: 5 hearts


Dandi Daley Mackall said...

My publisher just sent me your link so that I could enjoy your wonderful review of my new series, especially the 3rd book, WILD CAT. Thanks so much for the thought-provoking insights you share about the book and about others. And thanks for caring so deeply about what our children read. That's why I write.

God bless! Dandi
Dandi Daley Mackall

RebekahC said...

It's my absolute pleasure! Thanks a lot for stopping by to check out the review and my blog. I love what I do, and wouldn't have it any other way. Thank YOU for helping make it a reality. :)


P.S. I'm in the middle of reading the 4th book in the series now. Review to be posted in the next day or two hopefully. ;)