Sunday, 20 July 2014

Jessi-Cat by Jayne Dillon (Non-Fiction, 9/10E)

August 2013, Michael O'Mara Books, 233 pages, Hardback, Review copy

Themes: selective mutism, autism, seeking diagnosis then gaining help with treatment, family life, pet cat, school life, social situations,
Content: Humour, tissues needed

Summary from Moms Books
Lorcan Dillon was seven years old when his mother, Jayne, first heard him say 'I love you.' The words were not directed at her, but at Jessi-cat, the family pet. Lorcan suffers from autism and selective mutism, a condition that renders him unable to speak in certain situations, unable to express emotions or enjoy hugs and he has never told anyone he loves them. This all began to change with the arrival of a kitten named Jessi-cat. Jessi-cat is the stirring tale of how the affection and attention of a constant loving companion allowed a little boy to start to connect to the world around him. Lorcan spends hours playing with her, cuddling her and telling her how much he loves her. He has also begun opening up to others, making friends at school and is constantly making progress. Jessi-cat proved so inspiring that she was named Best Friend and National Cat of the Year 2012 by the Cats Protection Awards. This book charts the story of this great friendship and how the love between a young boy and his pet has changed his life forever.

Nayuleska's thoughts
The other night my family watched a cat documentary while I was gaming and listening to an audio book.
I peeked every now and then when family went aww. My ears pricked up when I heard the name Jessi-cat, then I watched in fascination as I saw Lorcan with Jessi-Cat. Having finished reading the book the previous day I was delighted to see the pair in action. 

I firmly believe pets are vital for emotional well being, especially if the owner-like Lorcan-has health issues. I wept as I read the social progress Lorcan made from his special bond with Jessi-Cat, laughed when they got into trouble together (not often), grr-ed when Lorcan's mother struggled to get the professional help for Lorcan, and grinned like a maniac when Lorcan's friends/brothers helped him through interactions with others. Like my own cat Belle who sticks with me when I'm ill Jessi-Cat can found wherever Lorcan is-as some of the photos in the book show that includes on a trampoline! I hope for Lorcan's sake Jessi-cat lives a long life, and continues to enrich his life through their special bond.

Suggested read
For another special bond between a cat and a girl, this time fictional, try City Farm: Laura and Silky by Jessie Williams (Children's, 9 years +, 10E/10E)

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