A warm adventure story featuring man’s best friends and a very special cat.
Sevenlives the cat and her canine friends roam the English countryside playing games and keeping a check on the ill-tempered dogs of Stealers Farm and their human owners. But Sevenlives isn’t an ordinary cat—she’s a werecat; when she’s in trouble, frightened or angry, Sevenlives becomes Sevenia, a half-feline, half-human female creature taller than most men, with a powerful tail and the ability to heal when injured. Sevenlives keeps her mystical identity hidden from her dog cohorts, Sweetness, Sadness, Laughter and Dependable, whose names “perfectly reflect their personalities.” A puppy, Mischief, joins the pack around the same time dogs from the area begin mysteriously disappearing, and when Mischief goes missing, Sevenlives and company suspect the residents of Stealers Farm—Gumless and Molar and their dogs Brutal and Angry—and it’s a race to save Mischief and others from a violent fate. Morrison’s book is peppered with enough theatrical language and magical intrigue to keep young readers interested, but the core of the book is an uplifting story of supportive friendship between very different characters. The book champions courage and teamwork and vilifies fighting, avarice and theft in accessible, touching ways. The story unfolds in just a couple of days, and, because the timeframe of the book is manageable, the dangers and triumphs the characters experience seem all the more real. Though human characters are flat, background fillers, and many of the magical elements of the story are left unexplained (Sevenlives and her otherworldly secret may be slightly confusing), Sevenlives and the dogs—even their names should be fun discussion points for the right age group—are drawn in an open, playful style, and they display enough of the familiar behaviors of the domesticated pets we invite into our homes and hearts to easily endear them to readers.
Good thwarts evil in a simple, relatable way in Morrison’s morality tale that entertains while avoiding saccharine moralizing.