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The Cat That Changed America
By Tony Lee Moral
Review

As anyone of you who have followed Fiction Books before will know, I never generally read or feature children’s books.

However Tony Lee Moral is an author I have featured several times over the course of the past few years, highlighting the many outstanding books he has written for adults. So when he contacted me with details of The Cat That Changed America, his latest book directly aimed at the children’s market, a feature post was the least I could do to help promote the book.

I also now have a great-nephew who has recently started school, so this seemed like the perfect story to check out, for he and his mum to share as bedtime reading.

Cover image of the book 'The Cat That Changed America' by author Tony Lee Moral

THE CAT THAT CHANGED AMERICA 

Cover image of the book 'The Cat That Changed America' by author Tony Lee MoralBased on a true story with an imaginative retelling for young readers.

P22 mountain lion is born in the beautiful Santa Monica Mountains outside Los Angeles, California.
But he is forced out of the mountains by Prime, a fierce older male lion who wants him dead.

He heads east to stake out a new territory of his own in the bright lights of the big city.
Along the way, he makes friends as well as enemies, and crosses two freeways, the 405 and 101.

He passes through the City of Stars at night, and strolls down the Hollywood Walk of Fame, all the while trying to avoid those bothersome humans.

After more adventures, he reaches the edges of Griffith Park. Can he make it his new home?

Cover image of the book 'The Cat That Changed America' by author Tony Lee Moral

TONY LEE MORAL

Image of the author Tony Lee Moral - Updated October 2020Tony was born in the historical town of Hastings, England.

The 1970s was an influential decade for Tony and his early inspirations were the natural world and cult cinema.

In the late 1980s he scored an early publishing success with the formation of his own software company for the booming home computer market.

Tony began the 1990s at the internationally renowned BBC Natural History Unit where he spent many formative years filming in remote places around the world from the Himalayas to the Amazonian rainforest. He moved to California in 1999 to work on the award winning The Shape of Life series and to write his book on Alfred Hitchcock.

Now a successful author, Tony still continues make an eclectic mix of bespoke documentaries and films around the world, now having established his own production company, Sabana Films.

Catch up with Tony’s news on his website

Follow Tony on Twitter

Connect with Tony on Facebook

Cover image of the book 'The Cat That Changed America' by author Tony Lee Moral

FIRST LINES

“P22 opened his blue eyes and curiously looked around his new home. Everything seemed so big and exciting. Green leaves all around him. Trees and trees and even more trees!”

Cover image of the book 'The Cat That Changed America' by author Tony Lee Moral

MEMORABLE LINES FROM THE BOOK

“Mama shook her head. ‘No, they don’t kill for food. They kill for sport and for the thrill of the chase’. P22 shuddered. He didn’t like the sound of them humans at all. Mama was teaching them to hunt, but also to respect all the animals that lived in the forest, as each had the right to live and share nature’s bounty. Why would you kill something if you didn’t eat it? P22 didn’t understand that at all”

Cover image of the book 'The Cat That Changed America' by author Tony Lee Moral

REVIEW

“Coming Home!”

That this story is based on true events, is part of what made the book such an attractive proposition for me to feature. And that Tony decided to pitch this version of the story at very young readers made it even more interesting, as this is quite a divergence from his usual genre and writing style.

The Cat That Changed America, brings to the forefront of those developing, sponge-like minds, the conservation issues of hunting animals purely for the thrill and chase, rather than any need or even desire for the food their prey provides. It highlights the way in which our adult greed for excitement and our human desire for expanding into every available space is driving some animals to starvation and extinction, whilst our constant need for ‘pest’ control, adds poisons in at the root of the food chain, which then work their way up to affect animals right the way at the top!

Then of course, whether we are a youngster of either the human or animal kind, there are the more lifelong lessons to be learned from the story, about how our parents raise and nurture us, preparing us for when it is time to leave our childhood home to discover an independent way of living and make our own mark on the world. How we should pay good attention to the lessons they try to teach us, as they only really want what is best for us. That we are all unique and different individuals, with some of us being eager to get going on our own, whilst others prefer the security of home and family for just that little bit longer! And of course, that not all families are conventional, however diversity is good and acceptable. There can ultimately be no price put on the value of friendships, no matter how ill-matched they may seem and we should never judge others by their appearance. Although almost all of us have to make important choices in life, with P22 choosing to have a place of his own with food enough to eat, over and above having friends and someone special to share his life with.

Tony has countered the serious issues raised by P22’s extraordinary journey, with a story that has some real heart and humour, which youngsters can relate to and engage with. The storyline is well constructed and leaves plenty of opportunity for imagination to play a part in the interpretation and understanding of events. The dialogue and narrative is crisp and plain speaking, well suited to its audience. The chapters detailing P22’s life up until the present day have been kept short, to keep those young minds engaged and focused – although perhaps there might have been a little mention made about his apparent loneliness without a mate to love and support him, just to highlight that we all need someone to be our special friend sometimes. However, that has been countered by the quirky friendships which P22 strikes up on his perilous journey, with each having been given names and personalities which would appeal to a young reader’s sense of fun and mischief.

A fun story, which tackles relationship and environmental issues, at a grass roots level.

The chapters are kept nice and short, with some lovely contemporary illustrations to head each one up, thanks to the lovely artwork of talented English illustrator, Louise Goves.

There is also an end page containing 10 easy to assimilate facts about mountain lions, which are sure to raise more questions from inquisitive little minds.

You can check out the official journey of P22 ‘The Cat That Changed America

Image of the author Tony Lee Moral - Updated October 2020

A PDF of this book for review purposes, was kindly gifted to me by the author.

Any thoughts or comments are my own personal opinion and I am in no way being monetarily compensated for this, or any other article which promotes this book or its author.

I personally do not agree with ‘rating’ a book, as the overall experience is all a matter of personal taste, which varies from reader to reader. However some review sites do demand a rating value, so when this review is posted to such a site, it will attract a well deserved 4 out of 5 stars!

 

 

Written by
Yvonne

I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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10 comments
  • I knew I recognized this author’s name…. I read one of his earlier books!

    This is one I think I’ll pass on. It can be a complicated topic for which I have mixed emotions. That said, I’m sure it has some wonderful lessons to share.

    • Thanks Kelly I hope you enjoy and please spread the word about P22.

      The conservationists are trying to raise awareness to build a wildlife crossing to help other mountain lions like P22.

      • Hi Tony,

        I hope that once funds are raised for the desired crossing, the mountain lions are given protected status, as it may otherwise have all been for nothing.

        Good Luck with the book promo. and signings 🙂

    • Hi Kelly,

      Yes! I have featured a few of Tony’s earlier books, although these were very much focused on the adult market, both fiction and non-fiction.

      The link to the P22 website features the footage which Tony’s film company made, so he really has been ‘hands on’ with this venture. In fact, Tony is out in the US this week, for the book’s launch and signings. When he is at home in the UK, he is based just a few miles away from my home.

      This is one of those topics about which we will have to agree to disagree, as we are all entitled to our own thoughts about it, so I really appreciate that you have made such an objective comment 🙂

        • To be honest with you, Kelly, given the state the entire world seems to be in right now, I have mixed feelings and emotions about so many different things, that forming a cohesive opinion about anything, is becoming more of a daily struggle!

          I have decided that I really shouldn’t keep reading or watching the biased news reporting we get dished up over here. It’s about time we had some leaders and politicians who don’t take on the jobs just to satisfy their own egos, rather than with any altruistic desire to help others, or the country they represent when they take on office. Everyone is on their own little bandwagon!!

  • Yvonne, This is an interesting book and post. I enjoyed the link to the illustrator’s site. I have always enjoyed illustrated children’s books, although I don’t keep up with them as much now.

    I am somewhat familiar with P22, the mountain lion, as I live in Santa Barbara and we take the LA Times, which has featured stories on P22. When I saw that the author was British, I was curious why he did a story set in LA, and then I saw that he moved to California, so that is explained. Thanks very much for this story.

    • Hi Tracy,

      Thanks for stopping by, it is nice to ‘meet’ you 🙂

      If I think back to the very bland illustrations and cover art of books when I was a child (many years ago now I know!), I am totally amazed at the talent around these days, albeit that colour imaging and software have come on in leaps and bounds. There just seems to be so much more connection and engagement between artist and reading audience and the expectation of the young reader is also much higher and more forward thinking.

      I don’t know exactly how Tony came to be involved with the P22 project, or why he chose to feature the issue by writing a children’s book about it, as this isn’t his usual genre of choice by any means. However he does also run a film company and if you follow the link in the post, you can watch the great footage he has made available.

      I would imagine that Tony is a dual national these days, as his film company and one of his home bases when he is in the UK, is down here in Somerset in the south of the country. I do know that he is heading across the pond this weekend though for some book promotion and signings for ‘The Cat That Changed America’

      Thanks for taking the time to comment, I always value and appreciate all visits and I love discussing books almost as much as I do reading them 🙂

  • That is an interesting subject. So, is it better to kill for food than to kill for fun? I’m not trying to create an argument, just point out a different view on the same topic. Because the book deals with this topic it can a great book for parents, to give them the chance of talking with their children about these important issues.

    • Hi Anca,

      Perhaps I went a bit ‘off the point’ in my review, allowing my own thoughts to influence too much.

      The point made in the book by P22, was that he, as an animal, had been taught by his mother to only kill other animals for the food they provided, rather than to kill indiscriminately for the sake of it.

      Although even that might be a moot point, when it transpires that p22’s own father, who has left the family and gone off on his own, threatens to kill his son if he doesn’t get out of his hunting area and go and live somewhere else – indiscriminate killing?

      I love it when book can engender debate and discussion, although this would definitely be going over the head of most child readers, who are only going to understand the various concepts in their most basic form.

      Perhaps I have read too much into the story altogether 🙂

Written by Yvonne

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