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The Legend of Vinny Whiskers by Gregory Kemp
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The Legend of Vinny Whiskers

by Gregory Kemp

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Being released today is a new book for tweens by Gregory Kemp titled The Legend of Vinny Whiskers. It follows the adventures of Boomerang Lookout, a prairie dog who just doesn't seem to fit in among the other prairie dogs in "the ward". Part of the problem is that he's named after an infamous prairie dog, one of the "lost six" who escaped the ward never to return. When Boomer decides to venture out of the ward himself he comes face to face with dangers and truths about himself and his home that he never anticipated. There is a long-standing feud between the Alignment of the Wee, a group of small animals who have banded together in hopes of one day regaining the control of "the tubes", and the rats, who took over the tubes years earlier led by Vinny Whiskers who opened the tubes to the sewer rats.

The Legend of Vinny Whiskers is a hilarious romp into the lives of these small creatures. It raises the question of the true meaning of freedom and how much one is willing to risk in the search for truth. Never short on adventure, kids will love reading about Boomer and the friends (and enemies) he meets along the way. There's even a shocking twist. Depending on reading level, I would recommend this book for ages 9-12. It's 243 pages and very well written.

The book can be purchased at Amazon or Webook. This is the first work of fiction published by Webook, an on-line social collaboration site for writers. The book was voted #1 on the site by Webook readers. This a great opportunity for aspiring writers. They liken themselves to American Idol for writers, but on a more modest scale of course. Gregory Kemp was involved with another Webook project, 101 Things Every Man Should Know How to Do.

I would recommend this book to your tween for some fun summer reading. I kept thinking too that this story would make a great movie for kids. I was picturing the animation coming to life while I was reading.
( )
  InDreamsAwake | Apr 5, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I can't quite decide what the author's intent was for this book. It is too simple for young adults; too grim for children; too serious to be a light-hearted fable; too silly to be a heroic quest. There are parts of this novel that seem to want to be "Watership Down" with prairie dogs, while others seem like they would be perfectly at ease in a dopey buddy comedy. Overall, I just got the sense that the author was aiming high but couldn't quite make it.

I don't mean to be offensive, but I was left with the distinct impression that the author simply wasn't talented enough to pull off the story. Written differently, it *could* have been - if not "Watership Down" - a "Redwall"-style animal fantasy with characters that affect you and terrors that haunt you. But the writing here is too simple and quick to have that kind of impact - each chapter is just three or four pages, which really fragments the book - and the characters are very thinly drawn. You have the hero with low confidence, the plucky heroine, the wacky bookworm friend, and so on - and that's fine. Those are archetypes, at least. The longer the book goes on, though, the more the author starts launching into pure stereotype: there are secondary characters ranging from a "Yee-ha!" Texan mole rat to some truly appalling "inscrutable Oriental" flying squirrels (named - I'm quite serious here - Kung and Foo). And these are introduced as the book is supposed to be getting tense, too!

In the end, "Vinny Whiskers" just doesn't work for me - and I wouldn't give it to a child, either. It could well be the stepping stone to better works by this author, but in the meantime, there are so many superior books that run along similar lines that this one doesn't stand a chance. ( )
  saroz | Jan 3, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I found that this book was slow to get into. However the short chapters were great. The book over all was okay. The age group that this book was intended for was unclear. Of course it was too old for children, but I do not feel that it moved fast enough to keep the attention of a Teen reader. The story did not keep my attention and it took me several other books before I finished this one. I kept putting it down. The story should have been shortened a few pages and maybe it would have moved along faster.
  meyben | Dec 28, 2009 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Late reviewing! *sigh* Anyways, I greatly enjoyed reading this book, as it was an easy book to read and I could just sit down and have fun with it after work and school. A great way to rewind after a hard day! Even if you aren't into reading 'animal-type' books, I would suggest you break that habit for this title! ( )
  smichellehos | Oct 31, 2009 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This book is well written and is a great read. It is geared toward the young adult group and I think it would be an excellent addition to school libraries and would be wonderful for a teacher to read to a classroom. It delves into the lives of prairie dogs all the while it compares to tasks that people face daily. My 13 year old son is anxious to read it next. I look forward to reading more by this author.Another note,
I thought pushing the issue of public education being a focal of the communtiy was a positive lesson. There are numerous lessons that can be learned through the lives of the prairie dog communtiy and I think it is a positive book for the youth of today! ( )
  sweetwater | Aug 15, 2009 |
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Boomerang Lookout is the smallest "kit" in his litter. Worse, he is also named after one of the infamous "Lost Six," a group of prairie dogs who left the Ward, their home, and never returned. When young Boomer decides to venture outside the Ward, he learns the real story of his namesake. The original Boomerang Lookout was the first king of The Tubes, an underground city populated by a band of small animal species bound together by a union called the Alignment of the Wee. But when control of the Tubes was passed to the rat Vinny Whiskers, the Wee were betrayed and evicted from their underground Eden by an army of rats. Ever since, the Wee have searched for a way to win back their home. When a young prairie dog emerges with a legendary name, a showdown between the Alignment of the Wee and the Rat Nation seems inevitable.
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