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Cat Running by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
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Cat Running (1994)

by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

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219579,978 (3.63)3
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Showing 5 of 5
Snyder draws on her Californian Depression-era childhood again and, this time, comes up empty-handed. I have no doubt that someone could learn something about that time here and surely comparisons could be drawn between the discrimination towards the Okies and minorities today, but the fact is there are a lot of books that do that better.

Zilpha Keatley Snyder was one of my favorite authors growing up and I remember passing on this book and others by her the same as I passed on other realistic novels by other favorites. That was a good call on my part, because unlike 'Stepping on the Cracks' by Mary Downing Hahn, there was little pleasure here and no sense that I had missed out on something.

There is just no spark to 'Cat Running' and very little originality, everything from the setting, the Kinsey family, the plight of the Okies, the little Cindy Brady Okie Sammy, and even Cat herself come off as underdeveloped cogs in a Very. Important. Lesson. machine.

The only highlight of the book was the discovery of the grotto, a little bit of Snyder's magic came through there. ( )
  ManWithAnAgenda | Feb 18, 2019 |
Cat is a fast runner and she wants to participate in her school's "Play Day" competition (against other schools, for some kind of donation of gym equipment), but she doesn't want to do so wearing a dress. Her dad says that "women in men's clothing are an abomination." This is when I realized that the story takes place in the past, specifically during the Great Depression.
Fortunately, this book is about so much more than Cat's father's antiquated views on fashion. She understandably feels pretty upset about the situation and decides to "run away". She doesn't get far when she finds a refuge. When someone else discovers this refuge Cat must deal with her feelings about sharing her private space and her prejudices against some of her classmates.
This is an excellent historical fiction novel for young readers. Themes that can be discussed in class or with an adult guide include prejudice, feminism, economics and general improvements in day-to-day living since the early 20th century. ( )
  EmScape | Jul 26, 2017 |
Too much in one book *for me.* ?ŠOkies, and the Depression (though it's the first time I've seen a hist. fic. point out that those events coincided), and a religiously conservative father, and adult step-siblings, and a weak mother, and a girl who is a tomboy and allowed to be (though she's not allowed to wear a dress), and even a budding of the feelings of puberty. ?√ɬ°Absolutely not a bad book, and some readers will love it. ?√ɬ°I just wanted more depth. ?√ɬ°

And I am angry that Mother's 'sick headaches' are dismissed, apparently by the author as well as the characters, as weakness... migraines are real, and seriously incapacitating. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
The story is about a girl who lives during the depression and has to deal with the values of the times. Hoping to win the runners' grand finale for a second year in a row, talented runner Cat Kinsey is infuriated when her old-fashioned father refuses to allow her to wear slacks like the other girls, a situation that makes Cat want to give up running. In the end, Cat learns that you can't judge others by what you've been taught about them, instead you must get to know them and learn for yourself.
  mrindt | Feb 19, 2011 |
I was drawn into the story of sixth-grader "Cat" (Catherine) of California from the moment of her deep disappointment at not being able to compete in the annual schools' race. A sure winner, her embarrassment at not being allowed to wear pants (by her father) while racing causes her to not compete. (of course her friends pester her about this - why aren't you running Cat?) Her discovery of a secret grotto along Coyote Creek speaks to the need in all of us to have our own space. Here she brings her special and favorite things only much to her dismay one of the Dust Bowl refugees from a nearby migrant camp also discovers her place. A little girl masquerading as a boy (Sam) at first angers Cat and then melts her heart. And then there is Sam's older brother, Zane, who is in Cat's class - always barefoot and grinning at her like he knows something she doesn't. And boy, is he a fast runner! She hates him! Or does she? Without realizing it, all her running over the weeks to make up the travel time between home and her secret place trains her for something far more important than the all school race event. In the end, it is she and Zane together, helping someone they both love. And in the end, Cat learns that you can't judge others by what you've been taught about them - instead you must get to know them and learn for yourself. Snyder is a master at older juvenile historical fiction. ( )
  patricia_poland | Feb 27, 2010 |
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When eleven-year-old Cat Kinsey builds a secret hideout to escape her unhappy homelife, she slowly gets to know a poor family who have come to California after losing their Texas home to the dust storms of the 1930s.

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