Wednesday, May 19, 2010

May Secret Agent #23

TITLE: Oreo's Kingdom
GENRE: chapter book

It's the first clear night after three days of continuous rain, so I stay out all night. I have to patrol my kingdom for any mice, moles, chipmunks, rabbits and of course d-o-g-s, which may have snuck onto my territory.

The most important thing you need to know is I'm a cat. Feline and proud of it. Cats are superior beings. We hear all, we see all, and know all. Cats are the royalty of the animal kingdom, and I am King Oreo. You may have guessed by my name I'm black and white. I am the ruler of all, especially those inferior beings, d-o-g-s, that are lower than peasants, lower than chipmunks, lower than mice.

I prowl my moonlit land. I stalk without a sound ignoring the wet grass on my paws. I search the bushes and check behind the trees. I sniff near the garden. No scents of my prey. The fragrance of cat grass and catnip seeps into my nose. Mmm.

Pounce! Just a leaf tumbling by in the breeze. When you are a king you can't be too careful.

My mighty realm is under my control. All is well.

Well, except for one thing. A big, blonde beast. Just beyond the big rock sleeps a Labrador retriever. Marcy!

Right now, she's probably d-o-g snoring in her ridiculous d-o-g house. She's not allowed to sleep on beds. What kind of an animal lets humans control its life?


  1. Interesting that the main character is a cat and good imagery. I'm not sure the character is immediately likeable- with all the superior talk but interesting none the less.

  2. Great cat voice! I really get the sense that I'm inside a cat's head. However the d-o-g makes me wonder if the character is dragging out the word or actually spelling it.
    All in all, an enjoyable read.
    Good job!

  3. Like the voice. As the owner of numerous cats, it is so true.

    Don't particularly understand the d-o-g thing, though. For me it works once, after that, not so much.

    I'm wondering if a cat would lump peasants in with other animals. That kind of stuck out at me.

    Otherwise, I like this. I'm assuming it's going to be a tail - I mean tale - of Oreo and Marcy. I'm interested enough to want to know how they work things out - or don't.

    good luck!

  4. Love that this is in the cat's POV. The voice is believable, though I'd drop the d-o-g! It stops the flow of the paragraphs.

    Just wondering about the chapter book genre: this reads more like a MG with longer sentences and much harder vocabulary like realm, inferior, and continuous.

    Sounds like a fun story!

  5. I think this has promise, but I have to say I agree with the poster above who pointed out that some of the words might be a bit old for the chapter book age. I really liked the d-o-g bit. It made me laugh the first time. But only the first time. There's a rule of three in comedy: first time is funny, second time is amusing, third time gets a smile, anything more than that and you've lost your audience. Here, I'd suggest a rule of one. Use it once and move on.

    But a great premise!

  6. I like the concept. But I have to agree that the d-o-g thing was a tiny bit annoying. And I don't really understand why the cat spells it like that. Hm.
    But I'd read on. :D

  7. I thought this was good, but I don't read this kind of genre.

    Good luck with SA!

  8. I don't read chapter books and I'm wondering if it's ok to talk directly to your reader like this? You do it well, so as long as it's not taboo, I think you're good.

  9. Fun cat voice and nice setting up of the way things stand with Oreo. I agree it read older than chapter book, and I would like something to happen sooner, not so much prowling and sniffing--what's the conflict besides just the presence of a d-o-g?

    Again, fun!

  10. Wow, great voice, so cat! And the last sentence had me laughing out loud.

    Above posters have raised good points, all easily fixable. I would keep reading.

  11. I'm picturing something like "Down Girl and Sit" from a cat's POV. I think you have a great cat voice, by the way! It's just a little long for the age group you're aiming for. If you can cut down the word count, this could be something young kids would adore.

  12. I love the idea. Somehow though I think you've just not quite caught the voice of the feline. As the former owner of a Burmese Red (sadly missed) I think for the first page hook, your cat is too long winded. Animals are more reactive. More physical. You need to feed yourself on literature written from a cat vantage. Did you see the musical CATS?
    Have you ever had a Burmese complain?
    "You used to be a good cook! I might have to leave home if you don't improve."
    "It's been raining for two days don't blame me if you have to jump on a chair because we ALL know how scared you are of rats!"
    "There's no such thing as raining dogs and cats. It's something stupid a dog would do though."
    ZP (who chose this piece only on the basis of a lower number of critiques than others and no other reason).

  13. Oh, I really liked this. I love the voice of the cat, but it reads more like MG. That’s easily fixed. Just make the sentences shorter and take out the large words. Or leave it and change it to MG. If your word count is too low for MG, you could add more.

    Here’s an idea how to shorten the sentences, but obviously you would write it much better than me.

    I’m happy tonight. It’s the first clear night in three days. I lick my lips. That means I can stay out all night. I have to patrol my kingdom. I’ll find those pesky mice, moles, chipmunks and rabbits. Then of course there’s d-o-g-s. I can’t have them sneaking into my territory.

    You guessed it. I’m a cat. A feline and proud of it. Carts are smarter than other beings. We hear all, see all, and know all. Cats are the royalty of the animal kingdom. And I am King Oreo………………

    Good luck.

  14. Be very careful with vocabulary in a chapter book. This is the time when kids read on their own for the first time, and a word like "continuous" probably won't fly.

    The sentences also should be MUCH shorter. Check out some chapter books at BN or the library to gauge their length.

    As is right now, I wouldn't keep reading; though if it was fixed to true chapter book form, I'd definitely take a look because I love the concept.