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Author: Saul Weber

ISBN: 978-1452810881

A Lesson my Cat Taught Me
is a chapter book for early readers by Saul Weber. This is the author’s brief summary of the book: Jennifer and her mother find a friendly, abandoned cat.  They soon discover it only has one eye. Jennifer calls the cat Uno, and learns that despite its disability, Uno is capable of doing more things than her other cat, Mr. Tickles. When Hillary, who is in a wheelchair, joins her class, Jennifer sees her as a friend rather than a girl with a disability because of what Uno has taught her.

The black and white sketches by Nancy Lepri lends the book a sweet, simple feel that harkens back to books we grew up with 30 years ago. The message the author is trying to convey—that kids with disabilities are no different than other kids, and Jennifer learns this lesson through observing her “disabled” cat—has great appeal, and it is a lesson of tolerance and friendship we hope that kids of all ages will take to heart.

This is a self-published book, and while there may be many talented self-published authors in the book world, the lack of editorial oversight is often a problem. In A Lesson My Cat Taught Me, punctuation errors, typos, missing words only serve to pull the reader out of the story and provide distractions I’m sure Mr. Weber did not intend.

While the story is a sweet one and the characters are likeable, the pacing is somewhat slow because of lengthy passages of dialogue where much of the exchange is between Jennifer and her mother about feeding the cat or changing its litter. Uno’s disability is that it only has one eye, hence the name. I had expected that Uno would somehow overcome the challenge of seeing with one eye, and that the “lesson” she teaches Jennifer is about how she adapted to the disability of her impaired vision. However, the tricks Uno performs with Jennifer’s patient coaxing has to do with selecting which hand Jennifer is hiding the treats or begging for a treat. For me, this diluted the “lesson” of Uno dealing with its handicap.

The relationship between Jennifer and Hilary, the new girl in school with a wheelchair, has the potential for encouraging kindness, tolerance, and acceptance of others different from ourselves. It’s a little too quickly glossed over, and I would have liked to see the author spend more time on developing this friendship and on how Hilary either triumphs over her disability or not let it impede her, and less time on Uno’s tricks and eating habits.

A Lesson My Cat Taught Me could have benefited from some tight editing, but overall, the book’s message is well-needed, and it truly is a sweet story.

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