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

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9781600243820: Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World

DEWEY is the heartwarming story of Dewey Readmore Books, the beloved library cat of Spencer , Iowa , as told by his owner and companion of nineteen years, Vicki Myron, the librarian who found him on a frigid January morning when he was abandoned as a kitten in the book drop slot. It is also the story of a remarkable small town, which burned down at the beginning of the Depression, only to rebuild itself, and which was almost shuttered during the farm crisis of the 1980s, before regrouping and rededicating itself to small town American values. Dewey's local charm and worldwide fame became a symbol of hope for this recovering town. Through Dewey's antics, we come to know and love many of the colorful and inspiring people of Spencer. But perhaps the most inspiring person in Spencer is Vicki Myron herself, a single mother who survived the bankruptcy of her family farm and working in a box factory to put two of her brothers through college to become one of the leaders of the Iowa library system. Dewey is one lovable, roguish cat who managed to transform an entire town and inspire people across the globe.

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About the Author:

Vicky Myron grew up on a family farm in northwest Iowa . She began as an assistant librarian at the Spencer library. Within a few years, she was promoted to director of the library. As a single mother, Vicky worked towards a masters degree for librarians during weekends and nights. It was then that she met Dewey, who made his home at the library and kept her company late nights while she studied. Vicky has served on the Executive Board of the Iowa Library Association, and on numerous statewide advisory panels. She is one of six library management instructors in the Iowa library system.

Bret Witter has ghostwritten nine books. Before becoming a professional writer, Bret spent three years as the Editorial Director of HCI, the publisher of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. Bret lives in Louisville, Kentucky.

Review:

An abandoned kitten serves as balm, comic relief and social director to a hard-pressed Midwestern town.

The feline came in through the book drop on a bone-crackingly cold winter's night. The place was the public library of Spencer, Iowa, where the corn grows nine feet high and the earth is so fertile "you would swear the ground is about to push up and tip the sky right out of the picture." But this was in the 1980s, when the farm crisis was in full tilt; lenders had foreclosed on 50 percent of the family farms in northwest Iowa by the end of the decade. Local librarian Myron paints a town in crisis: economically, socially and in terms of the human spirit. She was in crisis too and neatly tucks her own recovery into the larger story of the town's gradual rejuvenation. Named Dewey (after the decimal system), the kitten became the library mascot and a synecdoche: "He never lost his trust, no matter what the circumstances, or his appreciation for life...He was confident." Myron doesn't overplay this metaphor, but works it subtly as she depicts the town's fortunes reviving and shows Dewey playing his role in that revival with composure, social skills, patience and a measure of mischief. In an easeful voice and with an eye for detail, she delineates Spencer: its economic swings, the lay of the land, the Prairie Deco downtown. Dewey is the pivot; he even became a bit of a national celebrity, and the New York Times ran his obit. He was, this loving account demonstrates, the right cat in the right place for Spencer and most certainly for its librarian.

Intimate portrait of a place snugly set within its historical moment, preserved in Myron's understated, well-polished prose.

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Myron, Vicki
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