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Book details
  • SubGenre:Historical / Ancient Civilizations
  • Age Range (years):13 and up
  • Language:English
  • Pages:232
  • eBook ISBN:9780979882456

All the Cats of Cairo

by Inda Schaenen

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Bastet, the cat-goddess of ancient Egypt, has awakened angry from her millennia-long sleep. Egypt in the modern world has become chaotic, and she must restoreorder and balance. Is she mysteriously seeking the aid of Maggie through the goddess's disciples, the myriad of cats wandering freely through the streets, cemeteries, markets and mosques of modern Cairo? But what can Maggie do? She doesn't speak much Arabic, and she doesn't know her way around Cairo. With the aid of an Egyptian boy she has befriended, Maggie must battle powerful enemies--some strange, some all-too-familiar--that are set upon destroying the very life force ofEgypt and her children.
School Library Journal, July 2007 SCHAENEN, Inda. All the Cats of Cairo. 225p. CIP. Brown Barn. 2007. pap. $8.95. ISBN 978-0-9768126-5-4. LC 2006025613. Gr 5-8–Maggie, the 13-year-old daughter of an American diplomat, is living in Cairo with her parents when she begins to suspect that the cats of the city are trying to send her a message. With the guidance of Oum, a wise Muslim woman, she determines that the cat goddess Bastet needs her help to set right some terrible wrong occurring in Zagazig, the modern-day town built over the ancient site of Bastet’s temple. Maggie enlists the help of Tareq, Oum’s grandson, to discover that American businessman Bill Ramsey is in hiding as he plans to expand the cotton factory in Zagazig. Maggie uncovers the terrible conditions of the workers–poor Egyptian boys forcibly taken from their homes–and is able to stop Ramsey in a climax that sees thousands of cats appear at her summoning. Unfortunately, this book does not quite reach its potential. The idea of Bastet working through Maggie and the cats gets in the way of the real crux of the novel: child labor in less-developed countries. By mixing the two major themes–the fantasy element based upon Egyptian mythology and the focus on a serious issue–the impact of each one is diminished.–Amanda Raklovits, Champaign Public Library, IL Booklist, 5/2007 COPYRIGHT 2007 American Library Association All the Cats of Cairo. By Inda Schaenen. May 2007. 232p. Brown Barn, paper, $8.95 (9780976812654). Gr. 6-9. When her mother's government job takes her family from Washington, D.C., to Cairo, Maggie has mixed feelings about leaving her eighth-grade class for a year. Then, surfing the Internet for school research, she gets caught up in what is happening in her strange new country, where ancient lives are always part of the present, and cats from everywhere--in the crowded streets, on an obelisk, in a sacred carving--warn her that dark forces are threatening the people in the Nile delta. The magical realism is not enough to make up for the huge plot holes in Schaenen's first YA novel. There is sometimes too much local detail, and the first-person narrative stays true to the superficial viewpoint of a young tourist. It is the action that will hook readers, as Maggie uncovers an American big-business connection with local child slave labor.--Hazel Rochman COPYRIGHT 2007 American Library Association
About the author
INDA SCHAENEN was born in Dallas but grew up in New York. After college she lived in Paris and Spain, where she taught English as a second language. When she returned to the United States, she worked at various jobs—among them, selling furniture and working behind a deli counter—before she began writing for several newspapers and magazines. Her first book (for adults), The 7 O’Clock Bedtime, landed her on the Today Show, and her second book, Things Are Really Crazy Right Now, was published in 2005. All the Cats of Cairo is her first book for young adults; it combines her interest in the myths and legends of ancient Egypt with the realities of life in Cairo today.