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Dog Life: Celebrating the History, ...
Dog Life: Celebrating the History, Culture & Love of the Dog

Won Ton & Chopstick–A Cat and Dog Tale Told in Haiku

by | Mar 12, 2015 | Cat Behavior & Care, Dog Training & Care, Product Reviews | 2 comments

WonTonI rarely write book reviews on my blog, and even more rarely mention children’s books (so no…please don’t ask 🙂 ). But today I must make an exception for a colleague and friend, because the books are just THAT GOOD!

A couple of years ago, I was sent a review copy of WON TON: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku when the book first launched in 2011. I don’t have kids (other than furry ones with four paws), but was so impressed I wrote a glowing 5-star review for–at the time I was the contributing writer for cat behavior topics. This book is a moving, powerful story of one cat’s adoption, told through the “voice” of a shelter cat. The gorgeous illustrations by Eugene Yelchin perfectly capture the cat’s perspective of shelter life, car ride to new home, and experiences adjusting to his adoptive family:

Nice place they got here.
Bed. Bowl. Blankie.
Just like home!
Or so I’ve been told.

Lee Wardlaw writes the text in senryu, a form of Japanese poetry similar to Haiku, which gives the cat’s tale a playful, poignant or humorous tone. The cat pretends not to care about being adopted, yet of course yearns for a forever home. Please, Boy, pick me. And once chosen and named Won Ton, the cautious cat must learn to trust enough to share his real name, and heart.

WonTonChopstickNow the SEQUEL will be published on sale March 17, 2015. I have been waiting for this–it’s a subject very close to my heart, and addresses introducing new pets to resident ones–in this case a new puppy to the cat. Y’all know that my own book ComPETability: Solving Behavior Problems in Your Cat-Dog Household offers some prescriptive advice to prevent or solve issues.

But this new delightful book is perfect for parents and kids. WON TON and CHOPSTICK, A Cat and Dog Tale Told in Haiku offers the cat’s perspective when faced with a (hiss!) interloper.

Lee asked her publisher to send me an advanced reader’s edition and I will treasure this–it is everything I hoped and more. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this book! Won Ton has a happy life with his boy, until. . .

Ears perk. Fur prickles.
Belly low, I creep . . . peek . . . FREEZE!
My eyes full of Doom.

Both of these lovely books belong in every cat lover’s library, especially when you have children. The first book WON TON humorously educates children to basic cat behaviors and emotions, teaches empathy, and celebrates the gift of saving a life, while offering a snapshot of a shelter cat’s journey from a cage to finally embracing his new life and family with trust and love.

The second book WON TON and CHOPSTICK continues the “tail” with glee, humor and gentle insight of how resident pets feel about new pets puthimoutputhimoutputhimout but how with care all can be respected and learn to accept each other….

I shall call you…Friend.

I would love to send these books home with every new pet adoption. I cannot recommend these books highly enough.




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  1. Brenda

    Those sound darling! I hadn’t heard of it and I’ll check it out! Sounds like our Wilde Oscar would be happy to know an already resident cat’s tale is being told too. (He till feels Samantha as a burden from time to time!)

    I’m disappointed you won’t occasionally comment on books! (And, yes, we have one too — DEAR LUCKY: LETTERS TO OUR CAT, our rescue cat’s story as charmingly told by my husband with the pictures I took.)

    I love the illustrations I see in WON TON & CHOPSTICK and WON TON. I”ll have to check out all that illustrator’s books as well!

    • Amy Shojai

      Hi Brenda,

      It’s not that I don’t WANT to comment on books–there just ain’t enough time, and my boss makes me concentrate on writing my own rather than reading/commenting on others. (mean boss! LOL!)


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