________________ CM . . . . Volume XIX Number 1. . . .September 7, 2012



Eric Walters.
Victoria, BC: Orca, 2012.
199 pp., trade pbk., $9.95.
ISBN 978-1-4598-0157-8.

Grades 4-6 / Ages 9-11.

Review by Mark Mueller.

**** /4

Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.



It happened a long time ago, when he was older than a kitten, but not yet a grown cat, in his old colony. He didn't like to think about it, but he remembered all the death. Almost every cat in the colony had died. Hunter fled, but he never forgot the deaths or the promise he made.


In Hunter, Eric Walters narrates the events that took place in his previous work, Catboy, through the eyes of the main protagonist, Hunter, a cat living in a Toronto feral colony. Hunter is a well-respected member in the colony, and he received his name because of his hunting prowess. He is a survivor and a provider for his partner, Mittens, and their litter of kittens. Hunter is not a leader in the colony, but the rest of the cats look to him for a certain level of guidance. Hunter's reputation as a potential leader is a cause of tension between him and the current leader of the colony, King. Hunter is not afraid of anything besides the human beings that poisoned his previous colony and took away his family.

     When a young boy and a group of his friends start to visit the colony on a daily basis to feed the rest of the cats, Hunter is forced to confront his demons from the past. At this point, he has learned not to trust humans and to stay true to his promise to never receive anything from them. When he is taken in by a kind human who tends to a potentially life-threatening injury and the colony is about to be demolished, Hunter is faced with a choice. Should he continue to live by the code of independence that he has known for so long? Or can he find it in himself to forsake his instincts and trust the humans for the good of the colony?

      Hunter is a good read, and it is obvious that Walters has a very intimate knowledge of his subject matter. He captures the tension between the different animals and humans quite well. Walters also touches on the impact of the human environment and human activities on the feral cat colonies. As such, Hunter would be a very helpful book to teach with grades 4 to 6 science in the Ontario curriculum. The plot-line in Hunter is also well-enough contained that it could be read as a stand-alone without readers having met Catboy.

      I would highly recommend Walters' Hunter to be included in a public or school library collection.

Highly Recommended.

Mark Mueller is the Education Librarian at Tyndale University College in Toronto, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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