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Wednesday, January 22, 2014
An Animal Tale and a Young Girl's Journey
now days are enjoyed best with a good book and a cat on your lap. Today, I enjoyed both . Merl kept me warm as a read Angela Cervantes new novel, Gaby, Lost and Found (Scholastic 2013) from cover to cover. Merl even moved up a little on my chest as I sniffed and dabbed my eyes at certain parts of the fast-moving novel. This book, however, is not a tearjerker from cover to cover -- it's insightful, funny, hopeful, and at times, sad. Gaby Ramirez Howard, the strong Latina protagonist, volunteers as the adoption advertisement "scribe" for the Furry Friends Animal Shelter. Her involvement starts as just a 6th grade service project, but becomes much more. The cast-off animals, through no fault of their own, are looking for their forever homes, and before long Gaby realizes that she is too. At the shelter Gaby meets animals that are abused, neglected and abandoned. The young cute ones are adopters' favorites. Cervantes must have real life animal shelter experience, because she paints an accurate picture of the common throw-away society that shelter staff see every day. Her depiction of life as an illegal immigrant is probably right-on-the-mark too. When the story opens we learn that Gaby's mother was deported 3 months earlier; Gaby is eagerly awaiting her mother's return -- any day now she thinks. Life is rarely that simple. The book's supporting cast, Alma, Marcos, Enrique, Dr. Vilalabos (super-cool, tattooed veterinarian), Mr . and Mrs. Gomez, and the assorted shelter animals, add spirit and life to the 220 page book that hooks the reader from Gaby's very first encounter with an ornery Siamese cat on page one, to the last page that unites Gaby with an abandoned tabby cat. Add this book to your library, give it as a gift, read it more than once.