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Kiwi in Cat City

*****  Review by: AE Drury ‘Ed Drury’ on March 16, 2012 

Wonderful book for young adults and cat lovers in general. Sparsely, but elegantly illustrated and very well written fantasy about an alternate reality for cats. It creates a richly detailed place called cat city where a suspenseful mystery story unfolds. Two young children are transported to this realm by their magical cat where they play an important role in solving a case of catnapping. The details of this world are amazing, but equally impressive are the details of the characters which are brought to life vividly by the author. Book one in what promises to be an excellent series that will hook young readers on reading. It’s why people write fiction for young readers, after all. But I think readers of all ages will be entertained by this book. I found myself laughing aloud at the many witty sections and comical situations. If pixar is looking for their next animated feature hit, they should contact this author about an adaptation of this book.

*****  Review by: Shannon Gambino on February 28, 2012 

Ever wonder what your cat is thinking whenever you catch her staring off into the distance? Maybe you’ve seen your cat scamper off into the night like she is on a mission. Amy and James decide to follow their cat, Kiwi, one moonlit night and discover the hidden treasure of all cats, Cat City. Full of mystery and excitement, Amy and James discover cats are far superior creatures…more so then they ever realized. Perfect story for older elementary and pre-teens. I hope to read more adventures of Kiwi, Amy, and James in the next of the Kiwi Series by Vickie Johnstone.

*****  Review by: Ginette Hargreaves-Lees on February 16, 2012 

An excellent read, for all cat lovers!! A lovely use of imagination, plus technology from a Cat eye point. Read the book. I do not want to give too much away.

*****  Review by: D Brown ‘Mrs B’ on January 13, 2012 

Vickie contacted me about her book (a shamefully long time ago, I must admit), knowing I had a love of cats and I agreed to review it. I have started this book several times and stopped several times – NOT, I hasten to add, because I didn’t enjoy it or was finding it hard to get into. Quite the opposite. Instead, I found I loved the book and it has been to my particular chagrin that it has taken me so long to get the real focused time I wanted to spend with this book and nothing else.

Because readers, this is a wonderful story. But then, I had a feeling it would be.

So great was my love of this fun tale of the adventures of Kiwi, that I was even able to overlook the fact that there are two children as central characters. Yes, I know this is a book for children aged 9+ up but I am not a big fan of children in books and films. Believe me, I am not the maternal type! However, Amy and James are written as well mannered children that I’m sure even I could spend an afternoon with (even if they are a bit naughty for trying to go along with Kiwi’s adventures instead of going to sleep!). Besides, Kiwi is able to work a little magic to make the children considerably more likeable in my view!

Johnstone is a wonderful writer, able to weave a magical tale. She also has an excellent understanding of the behaviour of cats and injects this knowledge expertly into the tale. Her pace and timing is perfect and despite this being a book made up largely of prose, Johnstone nonetheless manages to make it poetic throughout.

I loved the exploits of Kiwi, Madame Purrfect and Inspector Furrball. Okay, okay – even the antics of James and Amy. This is the first in the series of Kiwi books and I’m roundly convinced that Johnstone will be called upon to write many more volumes. I believe she is currently working on book four and I can see this becoming a series that wouldn’t be out of place on the bookshelf of any family home, library or school. Bravo on a superb book!

*****  Review by: Isabelle on January 5, 2012 

I really enjoyed reading this book, it’s about two children and their pet cat going on an adventure (don’t want to spoil it for you). It may be for children but very entertaining for adults. So captivating and I was glued to it. Great imagination from the author and the book contains everything I look in a book; a good story, suspense, adventure, fantasy, action, comedy, drama. I definitely recommend the whole series!!! Can’t wait for the next one!

*****  Review by: Jill Arent “All Things Jill-Elizabeth on January 2, 2012 

By Alynn (my step-daughter), age 12

In Kiwi In Cat City by Vickie Johnstone, I really liked that Kiwi was a cat-agent. Amy and James (people) follow their Siamese cat into a separate cat world. Inside that world, Amy and James – or Ames and Jimster as they are known in the cat world – find that their cat Kiwi is actually a cat-agent, and he’s on a case where there are missing catizens (cat citizens – teehee) and Amy and James have to find the cat-napper.This book was very good. The only thing that I didn’t like is that there were a lot of big words that I didn’t understand and had to ask about or look up. I would recommend this to kids ages nine and up or even adults, to read to their kids at night.The ending was great! (It wasn’t the way I expected – but in a good way.) People would like this book because it’s not some boring informational book, it’s fun and always keeps you on the edge of your seat.

*****  Review by: Nicole Storey  on December 14, 2011 

This book is an enjoyable read and kids will especially like it! Johnstone takes a cat named Kiwi and gives her a life like regular people have. Kiwi has a job and, when not living with her humans, resides in Cat City. When her human owners decide to follow her one night to see what happens when Kiwi goes out on her own, they end up being transformed into cats themselves and Kiwi takes them to the magical city with her.

Johnstone knows what kids want! This book is very descriptive, but also gives children a chance to use their imaginations. I loved this story because it had a plot that I could relate to and get interested in, and yet, it wasn’t so involved that children could not understand it. I would recommend this book for children ages 11 and up. This is the first in Johnstone’s Kiwi series and I am looking forward to sharing them with my daughter when she is a bit older. She loves cats and what better story than one where the kids in the book get to become kittens and go on an adventure in a cat city?

*****  Review by: Anna Pescardot on December 21, 2011 

I read this to my 10 year old twins and they loved it. They liked the way the children turned into cats and went into the cat world and they loved the names of the cats too. They liked the ending and thought it was very well-written and that other children should enjoy it too. Well done, Vickie

*****  Review by: Ritesh Kala on December 21, 2011 

Who would have thought that I could read and enjoy a book written mainly for children! This is one book that will hold the attention of the most fidgety child and captivate and entertain them.

The ‘Kiwi’ series by author Vickie Johnstone revolves around Amy and James, two young children who own a cat named Kiwi. One night, as they see their cat outside staring at the moon, they go down and start following her, until she disappears in a cloud of purple smoke! As she returns and starts talking (Of course, a talking cat, this is a children’s book after all), she instructs the kids to do to mimic her and suddenly they find themselves turned into kittens and this is where their adventure begins.

Kiwi takes the new kittens to ‘Cat City’ which is quite similar to our world with cafes and shops, roads and cars and even a police station. This is the ‘double life of Kiwi, where she works as a detective. The trio is handed a case by Inspector Furrball as soon as they enter this new world, one involving ‘catnappings’. They are joined by the inspector’s nephew, Paws on this case. As they start investigating, a mystery evolves and the rest of the story is about how this unusual group solves this mystery.

This is a really clean mystery, you will not find people (oh sorry, cats) getting hurt. Even the guns are freeze guns to avoid any bloodshed. However, the suspense is amazingly created and maintained throughout the book. I was quite surprised to find myself not willing to put the book down. The mystery of the story has been really well designed and has enough twists to keep everyone guessing.

The author has modified a number of words enough to give them a ‘catty’ twist. This was something I found quite amusing and I liked the imagination it involved. Also the world, although familiar to us, is adapted for the cats that inhabit it. For example, you can find mouse treats and fish biscuits, milk instead of soft drinks, scratching posts and cat toys littered for their entertainment.

I was somewhat disappointed by the abrupt end, but knowing that this is a series, it is something I should have expected and accepted. I am not saying the mystery was not solved, but the author has left a few strands open to continue the series. I am amazed to be saying this, but I would love to continue reading about the new adventures these kids/kittens get into.

I can say that this would make an excellent book for parents to read along with their children. This is a great place to start to get children interested in reading and wean them away from Facebook television and their gaming boxes.

*****  Review by: CM Barrett ‘Connie Barrett) on December 6, 2011
My six-month-old grandson is already a cat lover, and I look forward to his being able to read this delightful book. Fortunately, I didn’t have to wait to read it.

The author shows a beautiful understanding of a child’s mind. What cat-loving child wouldn’t want to follow his/her cat on its adventures? When the children turn into cats, too, their reactions to suddenly discovering perfect balance and the ability to leap great heights are as delightful as their bewilderment about how to lap milk.

This charming book is written with great imagination, and I am very much looking forward to Volume 2.

*****  Review by: Cassie (Gathering Leaves blog), November 2011  

Yes, this is a children’s book, but don’t let that fool you into believing that it is any less entertaining for adults!  I hung on every word of this fantastic little novel, from Amy and James’ home through Cat Crime and back again. Kiwi and her cat friends are super fun characters, and the reader gets to go along with the children for a grand adventure. Vickie has a terrific imagination and truly amazing talent in putting her vision into words.

As we were getting ready for the blog feature, Vickie asked me who my favorite character was, and after some thought I decided it was Inspector Furrball. He has that intelligent quirkiness about him that makes him fun and relatable. There were a ton of cute, funny things throughout this book which kept the mystery from bogging it down too much.  Each of the characters had their own unique personality, even the city itself.

Due to time constraints, I haven’t read this one with my kids yet, but it is definitely on our to-read-together list.  I’ve already purchased the other two books as well, and I am anxious to revisit Kiwi and Cat City!

*****  Review by: Sue P on October 02, 2011 

I have to admit i started this book with a little indifference. My preferred genre is horror ,thriller and murder mystery and it is many, many years since i have read a children’s book. Oh boy , was i in for a surprise! This book is a pure delight -the author has such a great imagination and her ability to captivate an audience is second to none.

The tale is of two children who decide to follow their pet cat, Kiwi, one night and get the shock of the lives when they are led into a great adventure within ‘Cat City’.It is here when Kiwi and the children, who, by the way are now kittens , embark on an investigation to find missing catizens.I just loved the way the author changed words to fit into the cat world , i really don’t know how she managed to come up with so many but they were brilliant and i found myself chuckling away throughout. I soon became engrossed in the story and completely forgot i was reading a children’s book -it was so good .

To conclude; this was a well written and edited story, full of fun, colour and adventure, which i found very refreshing. The ending was a little inconclusive but this is the first in the series so i am guessing this is purposely done in order to encourage the reader to read the next one, which i would certainly do. I would love to see this book published in paperback and lining children’s bookshelves, it would also be a great choice for parents to read out loud as bedtime stories as they would enjoy it just as much.

With an imagination like this and the skill of the storytelling, Vickie Johnstone could go far and i , for one , really hopes she does.

*****  Review by: Helmy Parlente Kusuma  on August 23, 2011 

This is not only a purrfect bedtime story for your children, but also a welcoming refreshment for hissing adults to tame their stiffness. Funny, mysterious and full of paws! Don’t forget to wash your whiskers!

*****  Review by: Alex Canton-Dutari on July 26, 2011 

After I read this interesting story I wondered if it was a “children’s book” or a book for adults with the capacity to follow a child’s fantasy in their mind. I decided that the plot was adult intended, though the adaptation to the cat species was a believable fantasy. After all, we have seen enough cats of all ages dressed in many garbs… of course, less than dogs. Cats are more dignified. I tried reading some passages out loud as if telling a story to a child. It worked! Yes, I want to read the sequel of this well-written and well edited book.

*****   Review by: Annarita Guarnieri on July 07, 2011

I must confess that I approached this book with a few misgivings, because I had not read anything meant for children in ages. But after just a few pages I had already forgotten it was a book for children, or at least I found out that I did not mind it at all. While simple enough that children can understand and enjoy it, the narration is flowing and the style elegant, clean and amusing. And the plot hooks you from the very start. The idea of children turning into cats and following their own (supposedly) domestic cat to a strange land and toward adventure is quite original in its own right, and the whole story develops with a steady rhythm, in the best mystery style, with a few surprises here and there. It was a very enjoyable reading, so much so that I’m now looking forward to reading the next volume of Kiwi’s adventures (a few threads are left hanging in the end, but the story is self-conclusive).

*****  Review by: Savvy Consumer on July 1, 2011 

I love this book. I think this book is for students in grade 5 and going into grade 6.

*****  Review by: CathyS on May 25, 2011 

I don’t normally read children’s books (!), but as I was given an opportunity to review this, I decided a little light entertainment wouldn’t come amiss. And entertain it did. This is a delightful story and the author’s imagined Cat City was great fun. The cats’ names were cute and cosy and life, as humans know it, was cleverly cat-adapted – milk from the drinks machine, catpads (best equivalent of electronic communication!) and fish-flavoured biscuits. You don’t have to like cats to enjoy this story – the plot centres around getting to the bottom of catnapping (by cats, of course) – the mix of characters and how they are portrayed often make you forget that they are feline, from the members of the crime investigating cat force, to the wily perpetrators. Whilst the story ends well (I’m not giving anything away here, it’s a children’s book, it has to end well!) you are left just a tad high and dry, but, thankfully, you are reliably informed that the story is ‘to be continued’…… ..thank goodness, or I shall worry about Amy and James….My grandson is only 4 months old, but I can’t wait till he is older, when I shall look forward to reading this to him very much.

*****  Review by: Grady Harp on May 24, 2011 

Vickie Johnstone, whom most of us know as a poet of promise, has branched out into the world of children’s literature and if her inaugural book is any indication of what lies ahead, she proves that she has what it takes to create stories that not only capture the minds of youngsters but also the glued attention of the adult readers as well. She understands well that adventure and mystery and fantasy are the ingredients that hold a youngster’s attention, but at the same time she appreciates the fact that without the use of humor and a solid bit of ‘connect’ to real life that some children might have bad dreams if this were a bedtime story. Amy and James are two young children who live comfortably in a home with parents: security is assured. They happen to ‘own’ a chubby cat they named Kiwi and one night, with parents asleep, curiosity gets the better of them as they observe Kiwi outside staring at the moon. Wondering what Kiwi does for snacks and breakfast they follow their nocturnal cat only to discover that Kiwi talks, can transform herself in a purple mist to become invisible, and furthermore Kiwi instructs Amy and James to imagine they are cats and poof! the transformation occurs! Now the newly named Ames and Jimster enter Cat World where all manner of living conditions mimic human cities, with Meow Cafés, Meow Markets, and even a police station where the three adventurers meet Inspector Furrball who shares with them a Cat Crime in progress: Catnappings have been occurring every Monday and Furrball assigns Cat Squaddie member Paws to assist the trio in resolving the mystery of the missing five catizens. The adventure is well paced and is populated with interesting characters and dilemmas and situations – all of which challenge Kiwi, Ames and Jimster to solve the well designed mystery. In addition to telling a terrific little story, Vickie Johnstone has inserted plays on words, all-too-human situations and prejudices and flaws that make her speaking cats symbols for human foibles. Her introduction of advanced words bantered about by malapropisms encourages children to think up a step without stopping the flow of the tale. All of the ingredients for involving youngsters in the love of reading are here. KIWI IN CAT CITY is a great start in what appears to be a promised series of adventures for those who love books – human beings of all ages!

*****  Review by: A P on May 10, 2011 

Lots of fun and genuinely well-written. The author has a fantastic imagination and I’m sure all us cat-lovers have wondering what our little friends get up to in the dead of night!

*****  Review by: wistfulskimmie on May 04, 2011 

This is a lovely story about 2 children who decide to follow their cat one night and ‘see what she has for breakfast’. They end up following her to ‘Cat City’ and the book is then about their adventures there. To say any more would be to give away spoilers and that’s not what this review is about! This author has a fantastic imagination and although this was essentially a children’s book, I found myself thoroughly enjoying it. The story was told in an easy to read way and was a lovely subject. Who hasn’t wondered where their cat goes all night? I would love to read more from this author as she is quite simply amazing!

*****  Review by: Rebecca Johnson “The Rebecca Review”  on May 2, 2011 

Kiwi in Cat City is a delightful tale filled with mystery and suspense. Vickie Johnstone has a wonderful imagination and has created a magical world where cats run their own world outside of human intervention. The story begins on one dark night when Amy and James decide to follow their cat named Kiwi. Surprisingly Kiwi speaks to both children about following her and magically turns them both into cats. This makes the story much more exciting as now Amy and James can follow Kiwi into Cat City. They then endeavor to solve the mystery of the disappearing cats. As the story unfolds there are many surprising details and lots of adventure and action. This story will be enjoyed by anyone of any age that loves cats. I found to be an exciting read and can recommend it to you.

*****  Review by: Gema Newby on April 29, 2011 

I love this story. I have only had the chance to read the sample pages and can’t wait to find out what happens next. As an animal lover I have often stared at my pets wondering what they are thinking and what they get up to when I’m not there! So this story struck a chord with me straight away. I enjoyed being with Amy and James as they discover their cat can talk and when they turned into cats themselves I was 10 again! right there in the story with them. This is a perfect book for young readers, full of facinating descriptions, and exciting adventure that really draws you in. As a Primary school teacher, I would definitly definitly read it to my class.

Kiwi and the Missing Magic

*****  Review by: AE Drury ‘Ed Drury’ on April 9, 2012

The second book in the Kiwi series of books takes the readers on another fantastic adventure with Kiwi the magical cat. Again, Jame and Amy venture to the wonderful Cat City where we learn much more about the City and it’s Catizens. We also learn about Kiwi’s parents and the creatures called the magic. But James and Amy learn of another place, not so nice, the Land of the Giant Mice. James and Amy’s ability to hear and understand animals develops to the degree that they even befriend a community of bees and help get them happily buzzing again. They make new friends and have fantastic adventures as they help to save Cat City which is in danger of being destroyed. Another adventurous tale of mice and men, cats and mice, all told in skilled writing of Vickie Johnstone. It is easy to see why this author is so beloved. These are wonderful books the entire family can enjoy.

****  Review by: Jill Arent ‘All Things Jill-Elizabeth’ on February 27, 2012

Having previously reviewed the first in the series, I was pleased to move on to the second at the request of the author, Vickie Johnstone, who generously provided my review copy.

Strange things are afoot in the Cat City: giant mice, weird magic bursts, buildings in lock-down mode, and a surprising discovery about both the nature of magic – and of Kiwi herself. If you’re not up on the whole Kiwi-the-Cat thing, check out Alynn’s review for a good synopsis of the Kiwi-universe. In a very tiny nutshell, Kiwi is the pet of two children (Amy and James) – when she’s in this world. In HER world, Cat City, she is a bit of a detective and the two children (known as Ames and Jimster there) are rather like her pets – they help her solve mysteries. In this, book two of the Kiwi series, the mystery is to figure out what happened to all of the Cat City magic.The story is sweet, the characters are endearing, and the mystery is, well, mysterious. It starts with the aforementioned giant mouse (a definite oddity in Cat City), which triggers a locked-down Cat Central (the coolest description of a policemen’s defensive posture ever, seeing as it involves the actual building going into hiding). Add in a genuinely crazy villain (someone you’ve met briefly, if you’ve visited Cat City before), Kiwi’s mom, and a trip to mouseland, and you are in for one unusual trip!This is a lovely series. As with all well-written and thoughtful books for younger readers (and, come to think of it, “older” readers too), there are life-lessons threaded throughout the narrative about the importance of loyalty, courage, perseverance, and being a good catizen, er, I mean, citizen. Johnstone’s prose is easy-going and she throws just enough fun and frivolity in to hold your attention – be you child, tween, teen, or adult, I think.

*****  Review by: Cassie McCown ‘Cassie – Gathering Leaves’ on January 31, 2012
In Kiwi in Cat City, we were introduced to the magical world of Kiwi and her friends in Cat City. For the second installment of the series, Amy and James join Kiwi in the city again, and there is, naturally, another mystery to solve. This time, the city is suddenly threatened by a giant mouse, and it is up to the gang to find out how he got into Cat City and what exactly he is doing there. In addition, some of the Magic is missing, which could be extremely dangerous for all the catizens. Some old friends are revisited while some new, super cute characters are introduced to round out this highly entertaining, furry fun adventure. You won’t want to miss it!I have been dying to jump into book two of the Kiwi series since I finished Kiwi in Cat City a couple months ago. I was absolutely not disappointed, of course. Kiwi is such great fun, and it is interesting to see this new world through the eyes of Amy and James as they transform into cats and must integrate themselves into the feline society. I thought it was such a great idea to bring James’ hamster into the group to help them solve this new mystery.I admit, I was a bit thrown off in the beginning when we meet the bees, but later in the story I saw how that tied into what was going on in Cat City, so all was well again. Other than that little bit of temporary confusion, there was absolutely nothing wrong with this adorable story! I love the personalities of each and every one of the characters, and there is always something neat to learn about what happens in the fantastical city.

It is always great, also, to find a good children’s/YA series that adults can fully enjoy as well. It is a great story to share with your children or just keep for yourself if you are so inclined!

I can’t wait to see what is next for Ms. Kiwi and the kittens. Maybe it won’t take me two months to dive into Kiwi and the Living Nightmare!

*****  Review by: Isabelle on January 5, 2012 

I love all three book of KIWI Series, the story line is always different with new characters, the author’s imagination never ceases to amaze me. If you want a funny witty book to read with all the “trimmings”; action, suspense, adventure, comedy, it has it all and can’t put down after the first page, this is it!

*****  Review by: Ritesh Kala on December 24, 2011 

Kiwi’s gang is back in full force! Vickie has again created a huge fun filled adventure for us to follow, and I loved every bit of it. All the characters of the previous story are back with a few new characters. The list of new characters includes Kiwi’s mother Moogie who seems to be quite influential in Cat City and a giant mouse named Whiskers (I run away when I see a tiny mouse, I don’t know what I’d do if I saw a giant one!).

As anyone who has read the first book in this series knows that the kids named Amy and James have a cat named Kiwi, who is find of `magical’ and can covert these kids into kittens and take them to Cat City. After they return from their first trip to Cat City, the kids find it a little difficult to adjust back to their human selves and retain some of the habits they picked up in Cat City. This provides us with a few laughs. The adventure begins when Kiwi teaches the kids to talk to all the other animals. This new found skill helps them talk to the bees and find out what is wrong with the flowers around their house. Here they meet the `worrying bee’ who worries about everything.

The real adventure begins when they return to Cat City and soon find that some `Magic’ is missing. The adventure takes a serious turn when Cat City comes under attack, aided by some of the missing Magic. James’ pet hamster, Hammy also makes an appearance and plays a role in the story. Important values of friendship and forgiveness are really well depicted and kids can learn a few valuable insights about how true friends should really behave.

The story takes a number of twists and turns to reach a gripping conclusion as any further attack on Cat City is finally averted. I will not go any further to avoid giving out too many details of the story. You’ll have to read it yourself to find out what happens then!

Unlike the first book, this book is not entirely based in Cat City. The team moves back and forth between the human world, Cat City and `other worlds’. So the setting of the story is a bit different, but the readers do get to explore other new worlds and meet new animals.

There is a third book in the series, which has already come out, and I can’t wait to get to it. I also hope that the series continues to produce such magical tales for a long, long time.

Find riteshkala on wordpress.com for more reviews, author interviews and giveaways.

*****  Review by: Greta Burroughs on November 3, 2011 

The second book in Vickie Johnstone’s “Kiwi” series is just as engaging as the first. I truly enjoyed the way the author makes an imaginary tale come to life.

Kiwi, the cat, the two children, James and Amy along with a pet hamster and a mouse prevent Cat City from being destroyed. Of course, there is a lot more to the story than that such as new characters being introduced but it takes reading the story to see how it all fits together into one very nice package.

The “Kiwi” series is intended for kids but grownups such as myself will love the book as well. I highly recommend the whole series.

*****  Review by: Helmy Kusuma on October 17, 2011 

Kiwi is fun to read as ever! If you are following Kiwi Series closely, you can certainly find the same funny and witty story here, with a bonus, of course. Vickie has included other animals here and they accounts for the clever plot of this sequel. It’s not complicated though, but sure you are going to be served with a few surprises.

Eeek Fu! My mouth is sealed.

*****  Review by: Rebecca Johnson on July 17, 2011 

After reading about Kiwi’s first adventure I was curious as to what she would do next. In the first book Amy and James turn into kittens and follow their pet cat Kiwi into Cat City. This book begins with their return home. In their real world they retain some of the cat characteristics from when they turned into cats. This provides some humor into the story. They also learn life lessons from the wise Kiwi who is called back to Cat City once more after learning that someone has stolen some magic. Cat City seems even more fun the second time they visit. Vickie Johnstone really has a great imagination and creates a cozy world for cats and a underground kingdom of giant mice who plan on invading Cat City. Is there enough time to prevent the attack and what is Kiwi going to do about it? This book has lots of surprises, a unique plot and captivating characters. If you loved the first book you will adore the second. I also hear there is a third book in the works. If you love cats these stories will amuse you.

*****  Review by: Grady Harp on July 10, 2011 

Vickie Johnstone has responded to the popularity of the Kiwi series first installment KIWI IN CAT CITY and has just completed the Part 2 of what promises to be a long line of tales involving the morphing of humans into cats. This story is much longer and involves some very sound lessons in philosophy for the young reader. Once again the cat named Kiwi belong to Amy and James takes the children on further trips to Cat World, and again the humans take on the form of kittens renamed Ames and Jimster. The initial trip in this book comes after Amy and James discover that the flowers in their garden are drooping and that there do not appear to be pollinating bees. The three – Kiwi, Amy and James – set out to discover the mystery and find that the bees are all huddled at the river because the Queen Bee refuses them to pollinate flowers that are going to die anyway. And so, adventure completed, the three are off again: the trip to Cat City happens whenever Kiwi coaxes the children into the purple cloud that transforms them into a place completely populate by cats (read catizens). This time around we meet Kiwi’s mother Moogie and we are entertained by her ‘new influence’ on kiwi: Moogie has a past and the three learn about parenting. A return to the ‘real world’ finds James and Amy readjusting to their human forms – a state that provides some comical episodes as they find difficulty leaving their kitten ways behind…

But there are other adventures in this volume, one include the mysterious appearance of a giant mouse who threatens the catizens. In the Cat World there is some missing magic and it is up to the three heroes to find the Mouse King, defeat that threatening menace and return to a degree of normalcy. But of course Book 3 is already in the making. Vickie Johnstone is a born storyteller and has the talent to keep her series fresh with new adventures while maintaining the usual cast of characters – and adding new ones to bring on the magic. In her second book she introduces some well designed wisdom about traits all children should learn and this is a major plus to the further growth of the series. If there is a criticism to be leveled it is the need for illustrations: reading stories such as this on a Kindle format can tire the eyes. Were there some hope that the books will appear in printed format complete with the illustrations which beg to be present in this series, Johnstone’s Kiwi books would become a best sellers!

Kiwi and the Living Nightmare


*****  Review by: Isabelle on January 5, 2012

After reading Book 1 and 2 of the Kiwi Series, I wondered what Book 3 would be about and whether it would be just as good as the others. It didn’t disappoint, I can’t wait for the next one…I hope there are a few more!!! I enjoyed reading all three books and the stories are always different, with new characters each time, and I started reading this late one evening and I couldn’t put it down, I ended up staying up past midnight. So much is going on in the book but yet it is not complicated to follow! There is everything to keep a reader entertained and interested, with all the suspense, surprises, action, drama…. Just get the books and read it, you’ll soon find out what I’m talking about.

*****  Review by: Ritesh Kala on December 26, 2011 

The Kiwi series by author Vickie Johnstone continues as Kiwi and her friends enter another adventure. For those who are new to the series, here is a little background. Amy and James, two kids own a cat named Kiwi, who is magical, and can turn the kids into kittens and take them to Cat City. Over the last two books, they have met a number of `catizens’ there, who return to this story.

This book starts with Amy, James and Kiwi having the same nightmare about a three legged grey cat, trapped in a big scary house. As they begin to investigate, they realize that the house in their nightmare actually exists and was involved in a fire. Kiwi and the kids start to search for the house and this leads them to meet a number of new animals in the forest where the house was situated. These include a robin who helps them on their way and squirrels that now live in the tree that exists at the place where the house was previously located. As their search continues, they find their three-legged cat that is named Misty, and also find the reason why she is trapped in the house.

What they do not realize is the danger lurking there, and they manage to get trapped. Amy and James somehow escape and run back to Cat City to get help. This is the only small part in the story which takes place in Cat City in this book. Most of the story plays out in the human world. I really loved the scene where the catizens get to ride on the bus. These scenes had me laughing out loud.

This may be a somewhat scary story, but the adventure and the fun does not diminish one bit. And fear not, as with all good stories, the `good’ side wins in the end (this is after all children’s book and not high fantasy where authors relish in killing off one of their main characters).

Finally, I have to say that parents now do not need to compromise and read the `juvenile’ books meant for kids as here is an option which would be interesting for the kids as well as their parents. I may be an adult, but I still read each of Vickie’s stories with bated breath and expectation of new twists and newer characters in every book. With the coming introduction of illustrated paperbacks for the Kiwi series, the books may well move beyond five star category.

*****  Review by: Greta Burroughs on November 3, 2011 

Book three in the “Kiwi” series, “Kiwi and the Living Nightmare” continues the exploits of Kiwi the cat, Amy and James, a host of characters from Cat City along with some critters from our world.

It was very appropriate that Vickie published the book just before Halloween because that is the time frame the story takes place. Kiwi and the kids have a dream of another cat crying out for help and discover that the haunted house where the stranded cat is at can only be entered on All Hallow’s Eve.

I like the way the author introduces new characters into book three yet draws on the previous books for the characters that I already know and love.

“Living Nightmare” has just the right amount of scary bits along with humour to make it a very enjoyable read for kids of all ages.

*****  Review by: Grady Harp on November 8, 2011 

Vickie Johnstone continues her Kiwi Series with KIWI AND THE LIVING NIGHTMARE which seems written specifically for the Halloween season – or any time children want to enjoy a really scary yet fun story. As a bit of background for those who are unfamiliar with the Kiwi series, Kiwi is a magical black cat who lives with Amy and James and has the power to take them to Cat City where Amy and James can take the form of cats (‘Ames’ and ‘Jimster’). In this particular story, Amy awakens having had a bad dream and when she shares her dream at breakfast, Kiwi says (oh, by the way, Kiwi can talk and Amy and James can communicate easily with her) she had the same dream – a sweet 3 legged cat lives in a big house and is terrified and wants to be set free. The three decide they want to help.

Amy, James and Kiwi go to the library, research old newspapers and find the image of the old house of their dream – but the article says the house burned down along with the owner Mrs. Hargreaves and her house full of cats. Was it an accident or was the house set afire on purpose, perhaps by one of the suspicious characters who also lived there? But the newspaper is 100 years old. Nothing stops this triad and they set out to the spot where the house should be (a little Robin shows them and takes them to a lake), but instead of a house they find a huge tree. The trio meet squirrels who introduce them to the inside of the tree which in turn opens a tunnel down which they three go . At the end of the tunnel is the house (of sorts) and there they discover Misty, the little three legged cat who is actually a ghost. The adventures they all participate in include a trip by Amy and James back to Cat City where the two find the help of previous friends who join them in going back to where Kiwi and Misty await. The mysteries are solved – but you’ll have to read the book to find out how!

Johnstone has a way with the interaction of children and animals that provides a healthy partnership. She writes lyrically and keeps her stories moving along at a rapid pace. This Kindle book would do very well as a paperback book with illustrations that would heighten the experiences of the adventures of Kiwi for children. Vickie Johnstone has found a little goldmine with these tales and we can only hope for more.

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