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Star Ka'at (1976)

by Andre Norton, Dorothy H. Madlee (Author)

Other authors: Bernard Colonna (Illustrator)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Star Ka'at (1)

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236297,767 (3.66)12
Two intriguing stray cats communicate with Jim and Elly Mae, convincing them that the cats are aliens from another planet.

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Star Ka’at by Andre Norton, Dorothy Madlee

Andre Norton wrote many science fiction books about cats and other animals, and as the title and cover suggest, this is one of them. However, the Star Ka’at Series is for a younger audience than most of her works, and I think would probably be enjoyed most by people between 10 and 12 years of age. This book was first published in 1976.
The basic idea fueling the plot is that terrestrial cats are the descendants of a telepathic star-faring race of beings called Ka’ats who visited and settled on Earth in the distant past. At first, mankind could communicate with these alien visitors and respected them as equals (hence the ancient Egyptian obsession with cats), but this gradually changed as human civilization developed. Over countless generations, most of the Ka’ats on Earth lost their original sentience and became cats, but some still retain traces of their former powers.
The extraterrestrial Ka’at civilization has learned that humanity is about to destroy itself through greed and selfishness, and so embarks on a mission to rescue any earthly cats who can still respond to their call. The Ka’at operatives are commanded not under any circumstances to forge close connections with any humans, as this species is seen as too capricious and unreliable. The rescue operation seems set to run smoothly until a couple of the Ka’at scouts encounter two orphaned children who have the ability to respond to their telepathic messages. This presents the two scouts with a thorny ethical dilemma and potentially threatens the success of their whole mission.
This story is definitely well-suited to the age-group for which it is intended. The characterizations are generally good, and the descriptions of the children’s thoughts and feelings are quite convincing. Although they are both orphans, they come from widely different cultural and socio-economic backgrounds, and this situation is realistically reflected in the ways they think about the world and their places in it.
Themes and undercurrents related to environmental protection and stewardship responsibility for the planet run through quite a few of Andre Norton’s books, and this story may help young readers to become more aware of related issues.
Adult readers will find this a simple story and a quick read. While I think people of any age could enjoy it, those of the intended target group may especially be interested in the creative concepts, unfamiliar vocabulary, and the notion of super-intelligent talking cats from another planet! And the detailed and attractive pencil illustrations throughout the book will likely be appreciated by young and old alike.

( )
  Hoppy500 | Dec 1, 2021 |
I love cats. Andre Norton definitely wrote them into a lot of stories, so I think she must have too. Unfortunately this book did not read like a typical Norton. The characterization of the cats was spot on, but the telepathy thing wasn't done very well. If I hadn't had read this sort of storyline before, I might have found it confusing. I know my sixth graders would have had to have it explained. I liked the story, but the construction wasn't up to what I would have expected from the Granddam of science-fiction. ( )
  GlenRH | Jul 26, 2021 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Norton, AndreAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Madlee, Dorothy H.Authormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Colonna, BernardIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jenkins, JeanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shaw, BarclayCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Skovlund, BjarneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Two intriguing stray cats communicate with Jim and Elly Mae, convincing them that the cats are aliens from another planet.

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Two intriguing stray cats communicate with Jim and Elly Mae, convincing them that the cats are aliens from another planet.
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