Monday, April 18, 2011


Animals are the focus of attention of two releases; one is designed for children while the other is a bit more thought provoking.

"Fuzzbutt" by Morrice author Brenda Roy (R & B Publishing, $11.95) is a slim, self-published, attractively designed children's book. It showcases a small, partially wild kitty who grows up to be an 18-pound watchcat.

Full of great, clear photos by her husband Rohn, this colorful book covers the long life and misadventures of  young kitten that was left on the porch of an old country farmhouse.

Brenda tries to tame the suspicious kitty but it's a slow process. Once Brenda gains the feline's trust and the animal comes inside, she faces more challenges. A trip to a local veterinarian is particularly memorable, as the nervous cat is still very wary about other humans.

Fuzzbutt grows up and protects the farm property, even keeping a coyote away. The last part of the book delves into the cat's aging process and his companionship/training of other cats that Brenda's family have adopted.

It's uncommon to have a children's book with so many different photos that follow a cat's life. While younger children will get a giggle because of the book's distinctive title, this is ideal for cat lovers of any age.

Brenda, an elementary school teacher, also has written a children's book "Night Noise," which came out last year. More information is available from the author at

"Beso the Donkey: Poems by Richard Jarrette" (Michigan State University Press, $14.95) is an intriguing collection of poetry that's a bit more complex than it seems.

Although it's less than 90 pages long, it includes over 70 thought-provoking poems, providing refreshing reading for those who like to contemplate.

Jarrette, a California psychotherapist, offers a variety of laid-back insights into the life of a donkey - and life in general, viewed from different perspectives.

The poet doesn't go in for long, boring detailed verse; the reader won't have to dig deep for meaning. There's lots of strong, simple imagery; a useful acknowledgement section explores many of Jarrette's literary and Zen influences.

While this may be one of the largest collections of donkey related verse ever published, it's deceptively good. It's best savored, like fine wine, a little bit at a time.

Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing's Curious Book Shop, 
has reviewed crime novels and Michigan books regularly since 1987.

This review was originally published by the Lansing State Journal on April 17, 2011.

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