How much of an impact can an animal have? How many lives can one cat touch? How is it possible for an abandoned kitten to transform a small library, save a classic American town, and eventually become famous around the world? You can't even begin to answer those questions until you hear the charming story of Dewey Readmore Books, the beloved library cat of Spencer, Iowa.
Dewey's story starts in the worst possible way. Only a few weeks old, on the coldest night of the year, he was stuffed into the returned book slot at the Spencer Public Library. He was found the next working by library director Vicki Myron, a single mother who had survived the loss of her family farm, a breast cancer scare, and an alcoholic husband. Dewey won her heart, and the hearts of the staff, by pulling himself up and hobbling on frostbitten feet to nudge each of hem in a gesture of thanks and love. For the next nineteen years, he never stopped charming the people of Spencer with this enthusiasm, warmth, humility (for a cat), and, above all, his sixth sense about who needed him most.
As his fame grew from town to town, then state to state, and finally, amazingly, worldwide, Dewey became more than just a friend; he became a source of pride for an extraordinary Heartland farming town pulling its way slowly back from the greatest crisis in its long history.
I loved reading this aloud with G. He loves cats and he especially loved this story of Dewey Readmore Books from Spencer, Iowa. We laughed and finally we cried. I knew they found him in 1987 and that there was no way he survived more than 20 years....It broke our hearts.
Myron also manages to write a short history of Iowa and her small town Spencer. She shares some of her personal history too. Those parts dragged a bit and could have used a bit of editing.
I know they have a kid's version of this story without all the major history lessons and personal hardship stories of Ms. Myron, but this is the book I picked up awhile ago and so this is the one we dug into and read together. It opened up some discussions on drug abuse and suicide and as well as death. It got serious a few times but my boy was able to handle it and I enjoyed the discussions that came out of it even it some of it was a bit much to handle.
Overall, it's a great story. And Dewey, may he rest in peace, was a very special cat.