Book excerpt

Cat Diaries

Secret Writings of the MEOW Society

Betsy Byars, Betsy Duffey, Laurie Myers; illustrations by Erik Brooks

Holt Books for Young Readers

CHAPTER 1Full Moon, Empty StreetsIt was the third full moon of the year when cats around the world began to disappear. The alleys and streets were quiet. Trash cans stood untouched, lids strangely in place. Dogs sniffed the air anxiously while mice ran freely, unafraid of predators. Music drifted from apartment windows, unaccompanied by feline howls.The cat population had a meeting to attend. Large and small, old and young, cats headed to an old abandoned theater. When the room was filled, the eyes of the cats focused toward the front, wherea large gray cat with battle scars made his way to the stage. He spoke."I, Ebenezer, call the meeting to order.""This better be good," called a calico from the back. "I had to plot for three days to get out of the house to come." A Siamese slunk back and forth along the sideline. "And I don't have claws, so I took a big risk getting here." A fat cat yelled, "It rained yesterday. You know how I hate to get my feet wet, but I did it just to get here, even though I heard we might be meeting with dogs.""Dogs?" a kitten asked, shaking."That was just a rumor," Ebenezer said. "There was some discussion about a possible meeting with the WOOF Society, Words of Our Friends. You see, dogs have written diaries too.""Dogs? Diaries? Our dog can't even clean himself," a cat yelled."How many dogs have enough sense to write a diary?" said an alley cat."I agree. The dog in my house could no more write a diary than climb a tree.""Not so fast," Ebenezer said. "I've read some dog diaries. The stories are not bad."Yowls erupted. Ebenezer waited for the sounds to die down, then spoke. "On to our business.""Tell us more," called a young cat from the third row. "This is my first meeting.""As many of you know, for some time now we have been collecting writings by members of our feline community. We call this group MEOW (Memories Expressed in Our Writing)."Meows of agreement echoed throughout the room. A paw went up."Yes, Cisco."Cisco cleared his throat."Hairball," someone yelled from the back. Several cats laughed. Others coughed."Order!" called Ebenezer. "Cisco, go ahead.""What kinds of writings will we hear tonight?""There are many different tales.""Not from the Manx," someone yelled. "They don't have tails."Everyone laughed, except the Manxes, who hissed.Ebenezer continued. "Throughout history, cats in their own quiet way have been writing stories--stories of their lives and the lives of others. Tonight, we will hear diaries from a Gypsy cat, a pirate cat, and many more.""Let's get started," called an Abyssinian."We will begin with the diary of a cat named Fuzzy, who learned that it's a delicate balance to keep the best of both worlds. Now, get comfortable."Some cats curled into balls, others tucked their front paws neatly underneath their bodies. Everyone settled into position and awaited the first reading."Fuzzy, please come forward for the reading of the first of the cat diaries."Text copyright © 2010 by Betsy Byars, Betsy Duffey, Laurie Myers Illustrations copyright © 2010 by Erik Brooks

Betsy Byars, a Newbery Medal winner, and her two daughters, Betsy Duffey and Laurie Myers—both well-known authors of books for young readers—have together written several popular story collections. Betsy Byars lives in South Carolina, and her daughters live in Georgia.;;


In addition to Dog Diaries, Erik Brooks has illustrated Boo’s Dinosaur by Betsy Byars, and Monkey Business by Shirley Climo. He lives in the Methow Valley in north central Washington.