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  1 The Nine Lives of Jacob Tibbs
Author: Busby, Cylin Illustrator: Kelly, Gerald
Click for Large Image
Class: Fiction
Age: 8-12
Language: English
Demand: Moderate
LC: PZ10.3
Grade: 3-7
ISBN-13: 9780553511239
LCCN: 2015012040
Imprint: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publisher: Random House
Pub Date: 02/02/2016
Availability: Available
List: $16.99
Physical Description: 263 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm H 8.5", W 5.7", D 0.8", 0.825 lbs.
LC Series:
Brodart Sources: Brodart's For Youth Interest Titles
Brodart's Insight Catalog: Children
Brodart's TOP Juvenile Titles
Awards: Booklist Starred Reviews
Horn Book Guide Titles, Rated 1 - 4
School Library Journal Starred Reviews
Starred Reviews: Booklist
School Library Journal
TIPS Subjects: Pets/Domestic Animals
BISAC Subjects: JUVENILE FICTION / Animals / Cats
JUVENILE FICTION / Action & Adventure / General
JUVENILE FICTION / Transportation / Boats, Ships & Underwater Craft
LC Subjects: Adventure and adventurers, Fiction
Adventure stories
Cats, Fiction
Cats, Juvenile fiction
JUVENILE FICTION / Action & Adventure / General
JUVENILE FICTION / Transportation / Boats, Ships & Underwater Craft
Seafaring life, Fiction
Seafaring life, Juvenile fiction
SEARS Subjects: Cats, Fiction
Reading Programs: Accelerated Reader Level: 6.1 , Points: 11.0
Lexile Level: 1020
Brodart's TOP Juvenile Titles | 06/01/2016
Lucky little Jacob Tibbs has lived his whole life on board a ship, braving dangerous storms, mutinies, and other epic adventures beyond every cat’s wildest dreams. 272pp.
Starred Reviews:
Booklist | 12/15/2015
Grades 4-8. From his cat's-eye perspective, Jacob tells of treacherous sea voyages faced by sailing ships in the early 1800s. Jacob, the runt of Mrs. Tibbs' litter, is lucky because his small size keeps Captain Natick from selling him, as he does the other five kittens. Alongside his mother, Captain Natick, and the crew of the Melissa Rae, Jacob sets out on his first high-seas adventure. Thrills give way to fear and sadness when a fierce storm strikes, killing Mrs. Tibbs and severely injuring the captain. As the captain's health deteriorates, first-mate Archer instigates a mutiny and throws his detractors into a longboat along with the near-dead captain and Jacob. They drift for more than a week until Jacob spots an island, where the sailors gratefully recuperate for several days. But will they return safely to Liverpool? And, if so, what fate awaits them there? As the book progresses, Jacob grows from a small, frightened kitten to a strong, mighty hunter (and excellent weather predictor, like his mother). With engrossing action and great character development, Busby has created a story that will enthrall fans of animal fantasy. Kelley's full-page drawings add to this well-crafted tale, which many readers may come to treasure. Petty, J. B. 272p. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2015.
School Library Journal | 01/01/2016
Gr 4-6--Though cat-o'-sea Master Jacob Tibbs's mother famously possesses a preternatural gift for predicting bad weather, Jacob is the runt of the litter, with four white paws to boot: a traditional sign of poor rat-catching abilities. When avaricious baddie and shipmate Archer decides to make sure Jacob and his mother are shut out of their voyage, he sets a chain of events in motion that shake the foundations of Jacob's world. Busby deftly blends nautical verisimilitude and 19th-century historical detail with an engaging young feline narrator, creating a coming-of-age adventure story with much to offer a range of readers. The relationship between Jacob and his mother packs genuine emotional punch, and the story brims with swashbuckling maritime adventures. The resolution might not bear close examination, but readers will be too invested in the characters to be too terribly concerned. A discussion of the profit-driven sailing industry even allows for a brief exploration of the English slave trade. Emotional resonance and chockablock seafaring adventures combined with coming-of-age themes takes this over the top. VERDICT An outstanding choice for fans of middle grade nautical adventure and animal narrator novels, especially cat fans, with appeal beyond genre readers. Highly recommended. Ted McCoy, Springfield City Library, MA. 272p. SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL, c2016.
Journal Reviews
BookPage | 02/10/2016
As our kids and students mature in reading ability, we often recommend they read the classics. Treasure Island and The Swiss Family Robinson are a couple that teachers and librarians would suggest, yet the language of those classics is archaic and can be difficult for emerging readers, much as they might like the stories. Author Cylin Busby has written a historical novel that can bridge the gap between readiness and understanding. The Nine Lives of Jacob Tibbs is told from the perspective of a ship's cat in the early 1800s. Cats on board were not only considered lucky, but they were useful in keeping vermin at bay and could often give warnings about foul weather. Jacob Tibbs is born at sea and, after an early tragedy that kills his mother, must learn to catch rats on his own. As things go from bad to worse with an injured captain and a despised first mate taking over, Jacob and the sailors must do what they can to survive. Busby's language is reminiscent of 19th-century writing but is simplified enough to be accessible to young people. The prose has the feel of a classic, and the story itself is full of adventure and peril with a highly likable hero. There were not usually shipmates young enough to be a protagonist of a children's book about this period, so Busby's use of a young cat's tale is a perfect way to get a sympathetic view. Jennifer Bruer Kitchel. BookPage Children’s Corner Web Exclusive Review. BOOKPAGE, c2016.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books | 04/01/2016
R. Gr. 5-7. Yellow tabby cat Jacob Tibbs is born aboard a packet ship in 1847, son of the ship's fixture, Mrs. Tibbs, who is valued by Captain Natick not only for her mousing skill but also for her weather-forecasting abilities. When Natick ignores one of Mrs. Tibbs' warnings, the results are dire-a young sailor and Mrs. Tibbs both die at sea, and Natick is seriously injured. Young Jacob must then rise to the role of ship's cat amid increasing discord amongst the sailors, until an attempted mutiny results in Natick, his second and third mates, the cook, and Jacob being cast adrift. Eventually, they are rescued by a passing ship, but when that vessel's duplicitous captain hands them over to British authorities as mutineers, Jacob is captured and caged by a man who wants to profit by selling him. Jacob's narration effectively conveys the historical period, and realistic elements of life at sea lend credibility to a story about peril; the formal language and tone are streamlined and smooth, making this accessible to modern readers. Occasional monochromatic illustrations add texture and atmosphere to the story, and a brief author's note explains a bit more about ships' cats. Feline lovers will be drawn into this seaworthy escapade by Jacob, and avid adventure and historical fiction readers will also enjoy the voyage. JH. 263p. THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE UNIV. OF ILLINOIS, c2016.
Horn Book Guide | 11/01/2016
3. Jacob Tibbs is born the runt of the litter in 1847 on a ship bound for America. Jacob's first-person (first-cat?) account of terrifying ocean squalls, mutiny, and survival on a deserted island has an old-fashioned sensibility, as do the occasional black-and-white facing-page illustrations. This suspenseful, tear-jerking tale will please fans of underdogs, animal stories, and high-seas adventure. kp. 263pg. THE HORN BOOK, c2016.
Kirkus Reviews | 11/01/2015
A ship's cat relates his adventures at sea in this middle-grade novel set in the 1840s. Jacob, one of six kittens born to Mrs. Tibbs, the well-respected ship's cat of the packet ship Melissa Rae, starts out life with two strikes against him. Not only is he the runt of the litter, but he has four white paws that colloquial knowledge deems unsuitable for the most important job of a ship's cat: catching vermin (since it is thought rats can see the white paws in the dark ship's hold). Jacob's five brothers and sisters are quickly adopted, but Jacob stays with his mother and the Melissa Rae. At sea, young Jacob's mettle and courage are tested as he first experiences devastating grief, then a mutiny and life as a castaway on an island, and finally, reunion with his loyal friends. Busby infuses Jacob's narration with just the right blend of seafaring yarn and 19th-century formality, and readers will relate to Jacob's anxiety over his responsibilities, his fears, and his gradual perception of his own strengths and gifts. Busby's details (for the most part accurate) of 19th-century packet-ship life and Kelly's well-placed black-and-white illustrations, along with a skillfully measured narrative pace, bring the story to life. An absorbing historical coming-of-age adventure supported by deeper themes of grief, despair, and determination. (Historical fiction. 8-12). 272pg. KIRKUS MEDIA LLC, c2015.
Publishers Weekly | 11/30/2015
Ages 8-12. In her first middle-grade novel, Busby (Blink Once) introduces Jacob Tibbs, the runt of a litter born to Mrs. Tibbs, a seafaring cat legendary for her rat catching and weather predicting. Born on the Melissa Rae, an English packet ship steered by the beloved Captain Nicholas Natick, Jacob learns that the high seas of 1847 are a terrifying place for a cat when a storm injures the captain and kills Jacob's mother. Forced to contend with Archer, the inept first mate, the crew and Jacob must decide whether to stick by their captain, despite charges of mutiny, or risk themselves to Archer's directives. Kelley's dramatic, detailed illustrations highlight Jacob's perilous journey, filled with such enemies as Leo Bear (a competing ship cat) and deserted islands hiding possible dangers. Along the way, Jacob proves himself a fit marine feline and discovers good friends in Moses, the cook, and Chippy, a sailor. In addition to giving Jacob an engaging narrative voice, Busby fills the novel with nautical lore and lingo, making Jacob's journey one to savor. Author's agent: Brenda Bowen, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. Illustrator's agency: Bright Agency. (Feb.). 272p. PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, c2015.