Verdict: HAEE is a beautifully illustrated and thought-provoking modern-day allegory suitable for older children and grown-ups alike.

A 5 star ratings from Indie Reader – “Haee and the other middlings” series

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/.

A five stars book review by Readers Favorite

A 5 star book review for "Haee The cat with a crooked tail" by R.S. Vern
A 5 star book review for “Haee The cat with a crooked tail” by R.S. Vern

Haee The cat with a crooked tail, “Haee and the other middlings”, #1, received a five – stars book review by Readers Favorite. Jessica Porter, book reviewer at Readers Favorite says:

“Are we not as happy as those who are much better off in this world?” After this statement I was hooked! Then seeing that first cat just blew me away! I love all the artwork! Haee gets restless with his life and decides to go looking for adventure and through his adventure he gets lost in a black hole but he meets a new family. He stays with the new family for years observing what they do and how they live their lives. He then again gets restless and decides to go on a new adventure with a street cat. This is where book two starts.

This book was very cute. I loved the wonderful drawings. The only drawing I had an issue with was the one on smoking. The drawings are really what make this book so cute. I can’t wait to get a hold of the rest of them and I think I am a middling as well!”

To continue reading the entire review, please go to http://readersfavorite.com/review/7689 .

“Haee’s excursions will not only capture the imagination of children, but will also get a laugh out of adults.”

“Like all cats, Haee is a curious cat. One day, he decides to venture out of his comfortable home.”

When Haee, the cat with the crooked tail, comes across the black hole, he is overcome by curiosity. As he conjures the infinite roads the black hole can lead to, he decides to enter. After hours of exploring, one turn after another, Haee’s hunger sparks a desire to return home. There’s just one problem: He’s lost and terribly frightened by the darkness. Vern appears to use Haee’s adventures to show his audience, mainly children, the consequences of curiosity.

The second part of Haee’s adventures begin when Tom and Jane free him from the black hole and provide him with a worry-free, comfortable life. Rather than playing with other cats, Haee spends the majority of his time sun bathing. After several years of living in Tom and Jane’s home, he notices that his human friends engage in the same activities at nearly the same time everyday. Though both are happy, each has his or her own insecurities, aspirations, and desire for freedom from the routine activities of everyday life. Surprisingly, Haee is required to follow a daily plan like Tom and Jane, and is rewarded when he is successful.

Perhaps this second part of the book resonates strongly with adults. As children, they are allowed to roam free and explore the world. As grown-ups, they must abide to stringent schedules and deadlines, while constantly running the risk of feeling mechanical. When Haee’s restlessness grows, he leaves Tom and Jane’s home, and builds a new world with a bullied, red-nosed cat named Whie.

Throughout the story, Haee’s display of curiosity and courage are remarkable. When he wants to break free from routine, he simply does. Haee’s excursions will not only capture the imagination of children, but will also get a laugh out of adults as they anticipate the release of the next book in the Haee series.

The US Review of Books

A book review on The Unconventional Life of Haee, 2nd Book from trilogy series “Haee and the other middlings”

How does one leave a middling – that is, average – life behind? And what does an unconventional existence look like?

In the second installment of a three-part series, local author R.S. Vern explores these questions and continues the story of Haee, a cat which is pretty average in every way, save for his exceptionally long tail. The first book in this illustrated series, Haee: The Cat with a Crooked Tail, saw the titular feline leaving behind a comfortable and routine life with his owners, Tom and Jane, to experience life on the streets.

Like the first book, The Unconventional Life of Haee features appealing illustrations which are whimsical but tempered with a dash of quirky, Edward Gorey-style grimness. As the story opens, Haee’s explorations have taken him to the back alley behind the neighbourhood. Here, he befriends a motley crew of cats, including Whie, who is ostracised by the others because of her “unusually big red nose”.

Unlike the others, Haee is attracted to Whie, who he finds “really special and interesting”, and not just because of her oversize schnoz. For starters, the latter is vegetarian – her way of “saving the world and making it a better and more harmonious place to live in”.

Whie’s “queer eating habit” befuddles all the other cats, except Haee. (It’s easy to see the parallel to the human world here: As a once-vegetarian, I can honestly say that few things perplex omnivores more than someone who won’t eat anything which once had a pulse.) Fascinated, Haee learns to eat leftover pizza discarded in the alley instead of the usual roaches and rats. He even goes so far as to implement a set of rules forbidding the alley cats from eating any living creature.

As with many noble New Year’s resolutions and good intentions, things go according to plan for a while. However, it doesn’t take too long before the cats tire of their new lifestyles and revert to their old, roach-hunting ways. Disillusioned, Haee decides to move on without Whie, who is perfectly “comfortable with her life” in the alley.

Ending on an inconclusive note, this book sets the stage for book three, where we’ll (hopefully) find out the answers to questions such as: Will Haee return to a safe and comfortable life with Tom and Jane? Will he see Whie again? And will he ever find the different life he is looking for? Then again, as the author notes, perhaps life is not about achieving that perfect ending, but “having that extraordinary journey”, where dreaming and searching never stops.

The Unconventional Life of Haee, Tuesday, September 18, 2012
By Lynette Koh, Senior Writer, ilovebooks.com

To buy the book or download a sample chapter, please go to http://www.ilovebooks.com/ebooks/home/D1ABC7BD-D378-4CD7-AE59-57015B118FAF/The_unconventional_life_of_Haee .