Varjak Paw: A review by my 10yo son

My son started reading book two of the Varjak Paw series at 2pm today, and by 4pm, he had finished, with a satisfied grin on his face. Now, if my 14yo had done, this, I wouldn’t have mentioned it. My eldest son is a voracious reader who would read walking down the street if I let him. But my 10yo is what is more commonly (and ignorantly, in my view) called a ‘reluctant’ reader; that is, he quite rightly, asks a book to earn its demand upon his precious time. He has Roblox, Minecraft and Dragonballz to play, homework to do, Lego to build and videos to create. For a book to hold his interest at bedtime is one thing; to make a call on his daylight hours is a big ask. But against all odds, Varjak Paw by SF Said joins the Hall of Fame, becoming the fourth book that my 10yo son read in DAYLIGHT. But enough from me. I asked my 10yo why he liked the Varjak Paw books so much, and this is what he said:
‘I loved Varjak Paw because it’s about animals, marital arts and adventure. Varjak Paw is a Mesopatamian cat, who in book one lives with his family as a pet. But when two black cats kill an elder of the Paw family, Varjak draws on the ancient tales of Jalal Paw and The Way (an ancient martial arts practice) in an effort to save his family. But to save his family, Varjak has to go into the outside world and gain the trust of dogs, helped by his new cat friends Holly and Tam. But with gangs all around, he realises that the outside world is not all it seems from the inside. I loved this book because it was thrilling and gave the animals the emotions of humans.
‘In Book 2, Varjak Paw has to learn the 7 parts of The Way form Jalal the Paw, and take on the ultimate enemy, Sally Bones, the leader of the gangs who is out to destroy Varjak. Once again, Varjak unites with his trusted cat friends Holly, Tam, and Cludge the dog. But can he destroy the evil Sally Bones and her hold on the city? I loved this book because it is exciting from the first page to the last’.
Ordinarily, I would give a parental view at this stage, but my son read it so quick, that I didn’t get a look in. According to my 10yo, this book is suitable for 8-13 year-olds, and imaginative adults. In fact, he has today given both books today to his 75-year-old granddad to read, as they like to share and talk about the books that they love. Both books are short, beautifully illustrated, and should appeal to those mythical ‘reluctant’ readers, who just need interesting characters in exciting situations to engage them: the Varjak Paw series fits the bill perfectly. My child’s only complaint is where is the next one?


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