Newly launched book “Haee’s Quest for the Greater Prairie” received another 5 star book review rating from Readers’ Favorite. Read and reviewed by readers, this 3rd book from trilogy series “Haee and the other middlings” is an endearing and poignant story about a cat’s life in a middling city. Through the eyes of black cat Haee, this final book sums up what many of us experience in life’s various stages – our constant thirst for the extraordinary mostly, out of boredom and curiosity; only to culminate in a much poignant view on a somewhat very un-extraordinary middling life.
The art of children’s fiction lies in its emotional resonance and imaginative scope. Quite simply, a book without either of these factors is simply an illustrated waste of time. “The Unconventional Life of Haee” is the story of a cat who leaves a comfortable home in search of adventure. He wanders into a back alley where other cats hunt insects, vermin, and chew on the leftovers from a poorly-run pizza shop. An outcast cat named Whie temporarily manages to convince the other cats to give up their hunting in favor of a vegetarian, all-pizza diet, thus creating a utopia known as “Green Alley.” Eventually, a huge, somewhat thuggish interloper cat named Samzie invades the alley and refuses to abide by the rules. The pizza shop closes, the cats scatter, and Haee, the titular cat and hero of our story, moves on.
In terms of emotional resonance, “The Unconventional Life of Haee” is immediately engaging to the reader. The cats humorously impersonate feelings of wanderlust, unconventionality, and stubbornness. The imaginative quality of the story is less stellar, in part because many of the accompanying illustrations are repeated. Whether this repetition occurs in order to save the effort of coming up with a new image or as part of a weak stab at humor is unclear. However, when the cats interact with one another, the book is funny, if only because the interactions hint at the complexity of real human societies.
While “The Unconventional Life of Haee” is bold in its attempt to tackle serious issues of conservation, group dynamics and the importance of hygiene in the work place, it is not a classic in the canon of illustrated kid’s fiction. However, it does provide a welcome chuckle, even to the most hardened reader.
This is an interesting book, focusing on the ideas of need versus want, what is self-fulfillment and exploring our motivations.
It’s a short read, interspersed with beautiful images of Haee and the other characters.
I’m not sure that I really ‘got’ this book on the first read, and I suspect it is one of those books that you can turn to again and again and find different things, dependent upon your mood.
It is thought provoking as we see the human characters stuck in a life they think they should lead, rather than the one they want to lead. I suspect that a young adolescent would take the most from this book as they sit at a crossroad in life, making choices that will impact their future.
All in all an intriguing, well designed ebook. It is well edited and a well thought out and put together package.
Another wonderfully illustrated book from R.S. Vern, again following the life of Haee, the middling cat….
This book again observes those that are not quite pursuing a ‘normal’ life but also looks at the consequences of everyone being a middling… it doesn’t quite work, everyone (and thing) has a place in the world, and they contribute, each in their own way, no matter how trivial that contribution may be!
The images in the book are again wonderful, and really capture the idea of Haee and his other friends.
Certainly a quick and easy read that will provoke different ideas each time you pause to read it.
This is the simple but poignant story of Haee, a cat with a crooked tail who lives a comfortable and worry-free life with his loving family.
One day, curious Haee goes exploring in a black hole and gets lost. Haee is discovered by Tom and Jane. Tom and Jane take Haee home and give Haee everything he could possibly need or want. Though they appear to be a perfect couple living a perfect life filled with good jobs, exercise, organic food, sleep, a nice car and everything they need, Tom is secretly dissatisfied with the busy urban life and wishes for clean fresh air and Jane wishes she were a bird and could fly away and see the world.
Haee, in spite of his pampered life, treats and his part in making the house run smoothly, discovers that he, too, is missing something. So one day Haee decides to go play with the cats in the alley and make friends with Whie – the one cat that all the other cats ignore because of her big red nose. Haee enjoys being with Whie so much that he does not return to Tom and Jane.
The first in a trilogy, this story centers on the themes of need versus want, self-fulfillment and motivation. Author R.S. Vern introduces the concept of “Middlings” to the reader in the introduction, explaining that Middlings are those who appear to have it all, are independent, respect non-conformists and the environment but feel “apart from it all”. They also often ask themselves: “Are we not as happy as those who are much better off in this world?”
Haee, Tom and Jane are all Middlings who appear to have everything they could possibly need and want to be comfortable. But, as the evocative and enticingly detailed pen-line illustrations show, there is an underlying sense of dissatisfaction that grows in spite of all “needs” being met. Realizing this, Haee acts on his desires leaves the comfort of home in search of more satisfying life.
The ending comes somewhat abruptly, leaving a sense that the story is incomplete, however Vern does effectively brings to light the question about whether or not having it all is really the paradigm for the middle class working Tom and Jane, and whether Haee, or any other Middling, is really living more if they are less “comfortable”.
Vern’s story is engaging on many levels and the mostly-black-and-white illustrations add a contemporary and stylish elegance to the clean, crisp layout of the ebook that also features pop up text boxes when narrative is double clicked.
HAEE is a beautifully illustrated and thought-provoking modern-day allegory suitable for older children and grown-ups alike.
Reviewed by Maya Fleischmann for IndieReader. To read more, please go to http://indiereader.com/2013/02/haee-the-cat-with-a-crooked-tail/.
What would it feel like to see the world through the green eyes of a cat? No need to guess, just read “The Unconventional Life of Haee” by R.S. Vern. The story made me keep turning the pages till the very end, as the writing generates beauty through its simplicity. The protagonist is Haee, a cat who prefers the eventful life in the back alley to the monotony of the role of a domestic ‘pet’. Rejecting the safety of a routine life, Haee takes the hard path and encounters several other cat-characters who display a wide and a very interesting diversity of attitudes and behavior. The story is all about how Haee reconciles with this society.
The plot bears features of an allegory, as it contains several levels of understanding. “The Unconventional Life of Haee” can be read and enjoyed as a simple tale woven around an alley-cat, although it has a deeper layer of ideas inter-twined in it. The themes are not made lessons. They are presented just as parts of the world it describes. The cats who appear through the pages of the book epitomize certain stereo-typical characters in human society. They have deep-rooted norms or conventions. Some differ from the majority and live silently. Then there are trouble-makers, like Haee, who change, and who wish to change their immediate world as well. What happens when unconventional attitudes meet standard conventions? R.S. Vern tries to analyse it through her fiction. It being the second book of a series, the writing denotes wit, subtle humor and even cynicism towards the absurdities found in the human world. The story is strewn with illustrations which contribute considerably to the artistic value of this piece of writing. Read “The Unconventional Life of Haee” and enter into the bizarre world of Green Alley, where cats are vegetarians.
Reviewed by Gayani Hathurusingha for Readers Favorite