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Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World [Hardcover]

Vicki Myron
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Sept. 24 2008
How much of an impact can an animal have? How many lives can one cat touch? How is it possible for an abandoned kitten to transform a small library, save a classic American town, and eventually become famous around the world? You can't even begin to answer those questions until you hear the charming story of Dewey Readmore Books, the beloved library cat of Spencer, Iowa.

Dewey's story starts in the worst possible way. Only a few weeks old, on the coldest night of the year, he was stuffed into the returned book slot at the Spencer Public Library. He was found the next morning by library director, Vicki Myron, a single mother who had survived the loss of her family farm, a breast cancer scare, and an alcoholic husband. Dewey won her heart, and the hearts of the staff, by pulling himself up and hobbling on frostbitten feet to nudge each of them in a gesture of thanks and love. For the next nineteen years, he never stopped charming the people of Spencer with his enthusiasm, warmth, humility, (for a cat) and, above all, his sixth sense about who needed him most.

As his fame grew from town to town, then state to state, and finally, amazingly, worldwide, Dewey became more than just a friend; he became a source of pride for an extraordinary Heartland farming town pulling its way slowly back from the greatest crisis in its long history.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

One frigid Midwestern winter night in 1988, a ginger kitten was shoved into the after-hours book-return slot at the public library in Spencer, Iowa. And in this tender story, Myron, the library director, tells of the impact the cat, named DeweyReadmore Books, had on the library and its patrons, and on Myron herself. Through her developing relationship with the feline, Myron recounts the economic and social history of Spencer as well as her own success story—despite an alcoholic husband, living on welfare, and health problems ranging from the difficult birth of her daughter, Jodi, to breast cancer. After her divorce, Myron graduated college (the first in her family) and stumbled into a library job. She quickly rose to become director, realizing early on that this was a job I could love for the rest of my life. Dewey, meanwhile, brings disabled children out of their shells, invites businessmen to pet him with one hand while holding the Wall Street Journal with the other, eats rubber bands and becomes a media darling. The book is not only a tribute to a cat—anthropomorphized to a degree that can strain credulity (Dewey plays hide and seek with Myron, can read her thoughts, is mortified by his hair balls)—it's a love letter to libraries. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"DEWEY is charming, lovely, and moving. It's about life and death and small-town values and, above all, love. Norton would have liked Dewey--the cat and the book-- immensely."―Peter Gethers, author of THE CAT WHO WENT TO PARIS and THE CAT WHO'LL LIVE FOREVER

"Do not read DEWEY: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World! Unless you want to saturate a couple of otherwise perfectly good handkerchiefs, rid your thoughts of anything negative and at least for a little while, contemplate what a lovely world we inhabit."―Jake Reiss, The Alabama Booksmith (Homewood, AL)

"This Librarian thought DEWEY was the Cats Meow! It will make you laugh and cry so much that you will want to Readmore Books! I adored DEWEY. There are few books that are as memorable; DEWEY the small town library cat will be one of those books that will be etched in my memory for a lifetime."―Jennifer Teitelbaum, San Diego County Library (San Diego, CA)

"DEWEY...Finally, a lead title for cat people. If only all abandoned cats were as lucky as Dewey Readmore Books, or should it be if only all libraries were as lucky as Spenser Public Library? After reading this truly uplifting story, I want a Dewey Readmore Books for our bookstore! I'll have fun selling this one."―Karin Wilson, Page & Palette (Fairhope, AL)

" the story about how an attitude of love and devotion enriched the town of Spencer, Iowa, in a time when they needed it most. Dewey was not only a fixture at the Spencer Library for 18 years, he was also an international star of magazines, newspapers, and foreign documentaries...His story unfolds with humor, poignancy, and warmth that carries the reader to the very end."―Sharon, Beaverdale Books (Des Moines, IA)

"DEWEY...the memoir will be a hit, comparable to Marley or Anna Quindlen's Good Dog. Stay."―Bob Wietrak, Barnes & Noble (New York, NY)

"I was enchanted with antics of DEWEY, but also moved by Vicki's personal story and the wonderful presentation of my hometown...Whether you are a cat person, a book lover, or curious about life in small-town America, this story has something for everyone."―Bonnie Mauer, Anderson's Bookshops (Naperville, IL)

"The story of Dewey, author Vicki Myron, and Spencer, Iowa, captures what makes small town life worth preserving--a sense of community. Dewey rekindles my belief that one person (together with one cat) can change lives. Vicki gives Spencer's famous library cat a 10th life by writing this engaging biography."―Christie Vilsack, former First Lady of Iowa and President of The Vilsack Foundation

"Iowa has produced great Hall of Famers, like baseball's Bob Feller. Iowa has now produced a true feline Hall of Famer, a loveable library celebrity named Dewey, who put Spencer, Iowa, on the international map. This book is a purring good read, whether you are a cat lover, or not."―Jim Fanning, former Major League Baseball player and manager

"Through this plucky cat we come to know and love the town of Spencer, Iowa and learn lessons about courage, generosity and the power of relationships. Dewey is a hero. I wish there were more people like him."―Toni Raiten-D'Antonio, author of THE VELVETEEN PRINCIPLES

"What an extraordinary story of love, courage and devotion. I will not soon forget the good people of Spencer, Iowa and their wonderful library cat. Dewey is truly inspiration for the soul."―Jack Canfield, co-creator of CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HEARTWARMING, HAPPY, AND HOPEFUL Sept. 17 2008
By Gail Cooke TOP 50 REVIEWER
Remember Marley: A Dog Like No Other, a canine greatly loved by his master? Well, here is Dewey, an abandoned orange kitten not only beloved by his mistress but by the entire town of Spencer, Iowa.

Dewey's origins were questionable as was his introduction to library director Vicki Myron. January 18, 1988 was a frigid Monday in Spencer. "It was a killing freeze, the kind that made it almost painful to breathe." When Vicki arrived at the library that morning her assistant told her she had heard a noise coming from a metal slot, the library's after-hours drop box behind the building. Soon, they both heard the noise and thought it was an animal. The opening of the box was only a few inches wide, so whatever it was had to be very small. Being metal the box was even colder than it was outside, and there in a corner of the box was a tiny kitten.

It was the most pitiful thing she had ever seen, so thin she could see every rib, and she could feel its heart beating, its lungs pumping. "The poor kitten was so weak it could barely hold up its head, and it was shaking uncontrollably. It opened its mouth, but the sound which came two seconds later, was weak and ragged." But one look into his big eyes and she was Dewey's and he was hers.

Dewey was not the only one who had endured hardship - Vicki was a single mom who had lost the family farm and survived an abusive husband. The people of Spencer were going through tough times during the farm crisis of that time. Depression, ennui seemed to be everywhere.

Nonetheless, Vicki was determined to capture the interest of those who came to the small library and hopefully make them a little happier. With the help of Dewey she did that and more.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I want my money back!!! Jan. 12 2010
I'm not a cat person per se (I have two dogs) but I ordered this book after reading all those praising comments from well-known authors, among others, as well as the customer reviews on the Amazon website. Unfortunately, I do not agree with most of the reviewers. In fact, I'm very surprised that this book was a #1 New York Times Bestseller! Although I agree that Dewey's story is touching and inspiring, I find that the book does not revolve enough around Dewey's life, but rather it revolves too much around the author's life...her alcoholic husband, her family, her challenges and struggles, her numerous surgeries and fragile health, the town of Spencer, etc. Instead of the author's personal story, which fills many pages or even chapters, a large portion of the book could have been filled with stories from library regulars, such as the homeless man who turned to Dewey for affection or the little girl with Down Syndrome who lightened up when she saw or touched Dewey. Actually, so many touching stories could have been told by the staff of the Spencer Public Library, who cared so lovingly for Dewey, as well as some stories chosen amongst the thousands and thousands of visitors who were enthralled by Dewey during his 19 years at the library. Instead, the author gets off-track from the very beginning. For example, besides the front jacket description, Dewey's name is mentioned for the first time in the last paragraph of the five-page introduction...the rest is all about Iowa! Besides two frivilous - and very short - mentions about Dewey in the 10 pages of chapter 6, the rest is all about the town of Moneta. And, in the eight pages of chapter 7, where Spencer is showcased, Dewey is mentioned only towards the end. And, not a single word about Dewey in the 12 pages of chapter 12...again, Spencer takes over! In fact, I think this book should have been titled,"Vicki - The Small-Town Librarian Whose Cat, Dewey, Touched the World"!
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dewey Jan. 5 2009
By Pauline
I love cats, I love libraries and I love cats that live in libraries or book shops. There is this little used bookshop in downtown Edmonton, Alberta, Canada that is graced with the presence of a feline. During my first visit to this shop I was kneeling down on the floor looking at some books and reached out to touch a big fluffy pillow which turned out to be one big fat fluffy cat, I was delighted!

When I heard of "Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World" by Vicki Myron I had to read it. The first chapter about the rescue of Dewey from the returned book bin on the coldest night of the year is touching and it brought tears to my eyes. I also enjoyed reading about Dewey recovering and loving everyone he meets, but after the first few chapters the book just stops being magical and pretty much becomes a story that any cat owner could write. I was not that interested in the author's life and wanted to hear more about Dewey and his antics.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sweet and touching story. Aug. 16 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is meant for light reading and as such it's a good read. If you love cats you'll like this book. There are a lot of warm and touching parts in the book and you'll be able to empathize with Dewey and the people who took care of him and loved him. The author may have anthropomorphized Dewey a bit too much, but then, don't we all, as animal lovers, do the same? I know I do.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars this will touch your heart April 24 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A wonderfully warm and uplifting book. You will definitely enjoy it, especially if you are an animal lover. If only all libraries could have cats!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Dewey Jan. 28 2011
By Cicely
I have just finished reading Dewey,The Small Town Library Cat and while it was not what I expected I thoroughly enjoyed it. Friends who had read the book just mentioned Dewey, but nothing about Spencer or the Library, which to me was a very important part of the Dewey's story. I loved reading about the history of the town and Vicki Myron's story. Mrs. Myron brought me into the town and I felt part of the family. I am looking forward to reading the sequel.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Hope the person who abandoned this beautiful kitty gets their visit...
Would read again and again. Hope the person who abandoned this beautiful kitty gets their visit from Karma. Dewey was one in a million.
Published 5 months ago by ma d
5.0 out of 5 stars This sipper supplied excellent quality and on time
bought as a gift. This sipper supplied excellent quality and on time, I highly recommendm both
Published 12 months ago by jbrookes
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartwarming story
What a great book, what a great story! A tory about a cat whose life worth nothing at the beginning of his journey. Must read!
Published 20 months ago by Maria
2.0 out of 5 stars Dewey
It got boring after a while. The book got monotonous, there is too much emphasis on the role that this cat plays in the community.
Published 22 months ago by bevleroux
5.0 out of 5 stars touching
wonderful story for both young and old plus my family are cat lovers I have bought for my grand daughters now I will send to my Sister in Law in UK also cat lover
Published 23 months ago by Mrs Anne Dray
5.0 out of 5 stars A warm lovely true story
Dewey was a remarkable cat that truly touched many lives. A joy to read often putting a smile on your face.
Published on Sept. 21 2013 by Steen Rassow
5.0 out of 5 stars A remarkable cat!
This book was given to me by a friend. It is well written and the book is based on a true story, if you are an animal lover you will like this one, it really touched me!!
Published on April 22 2013 by Jo-Anne Desrosiers
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended for any cat lover.
I bought this book as a gift for someone who loves cats and she related to me that it was well written and hard to put down.
Published on March 7 2013 by Heather Aitken
5.0 out of 5 stars Dewey: The Small Town Library Cat
This is a wonderful, heartwarming book which moved me to tears at times. I particularly enjoyed Vickey Myron's personal story not only about her own life but about the town and the... Read more
Published on Sept. 6 2012 by Linda Anne Seville
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful tale
This is a story i picked up to read to my children, and i found myself engrossed in the fantastic world of a self-made king of the jungle. Read more
Published on March 15 2012 by T. Hassan
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