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The Nine Lives of Jacob Tibbs
Contributor(s): Busby, Cylin, Kelley, Gerald (Illustrator)
ISBN: 0553511238     ISBN-13: 9780553511239
Publisher: Alfred a Knopf Inc
    OUR PRICE: $16.85  
Product Type: Hardcover - Other Formats
Published: February 2016
Annotation: "The story of cat Jacob Tibbs, runt of the litter, and his exploits on the high seas as a ship's mouser"--
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Cats; Juvenile fiction.
Cats; Fiction.
Seafaring life; Fiction.
BISAC Categories:
- Juvenile Fiction | Animals | Cats
- Juvenile Fiction | Transportation | Boats, Ships & Underwater Craft
- Juvenile Fiction | Action & Adventure
Dewey: [Fic]
LCCN: 2015012040
Lexile Measure: 1020
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 4-6, Age 9-11
Book type: Juvenile Fiction
Physical Information: 8.50" H x 5.75" W x 1.00" (0.80 lbs) 263 pages
Accelerated Reader Info
Quiz #: 179589
Reading Level: 6.1   Interest Level: Middle Grades   Point Value: 11.0
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Contributor Bio(s): CYLIN BUSBY is the author of several fiction and nonfiction books for young readers. Her memoir,The Year We Disappeared—co-written with her father, John Busby—was a Wall Street Journal bestseller, aPublishers Weekly Best Book of the Year, and a Cybils Award winner. While living on a farm in Tennessee, Cylin’s family kept more than twenty cats in the barn, whose job it was to keep the livestock feed free of vermin. The cat in this book is based on one of those cats—Graybeard—who was born a feeble, sickly runt and went on to become a great mouser. Cylin lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their son. Learn more about Cylin at

Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2016 Fall)
Jacob Tibbs is born the runt of the litter in 1847 on a ship bound for America. Jacob's first-person (first-cat?) account of terrifying ocean squalls, mutiny, and survival on a deserted island has an old-fashioned sensibility, as do the occasional black-and-white facing-page illustrations. This suspenseful, tear-jerking tale will please fans of underdogs, animal stories, and high-seas adventure. Copyright 2016 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2015 November #5)

In her first middle-grade novel, Busby (Blink Once) introduces Jacob Tibbs, the runt of a litter born to Mrs. Tibbs, a seafaring cat legendary for her rat catching and weather predicting. Born on the Melissa Rae, an English packet ship steered by the beloved Captain Nicholas Natick, Jacob learns that the high seas of 1847 are a terrifying place for a cat when a storm injures the captain and kills Jacob's mother. Forced to contend with Archer, the inept first mate, the crew and Jacob must decide whether to stick by their captain, despite charges of mutiny, or risk themselves to Archer's directives. Kelley's dramatic, detailed illustrations highlight Jacob's perilous journey, filled with such enemies as Leo Bear (a competing ship cat) and deserted islands hiding possible dangers. Along the way, Jacob proves himself a fit marine feline and discovers good friends in Moses, the cook, and Chippy, a sailor. In addition to giving Jacob an engaging narrative voice, Busby fills the novel with nautical lore and lingo, making Jacob's journey one to savor. Ages 8–12. Author's agent: Brenda Bowen, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. Illustrator's agency: Bright Agency. (Feb.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2015 PWxyz LLC

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2016 January)

Gr 4–6—Though cat-o'-sea Master Jacob Tibbs's mother famously possesses a preternatural gift for predicting bad weather, Jacob is the runt of the litter, with four white paws to boot: a traditional sign of poor rat-catching abilities. When avaricious baddie and shipmate Archer decides to make sure Jacob and his mother are shut out of their voyage, he sets a chain of events in motion that shake the foundations of Jacob's world. Busby deftly blends nautical verisimilitude and 19th-century historical detail with an engaging young feline narrator, creating a coming-of-age adventure story with much to offer a range of readers. The relationship between Jacob and his mother packs genuine emotional punch, and the story brims with swashbuckling maritime adventures. The resolution might not bear close examination, but readers will be too invested in the characters to be too terribly concerned. A discussion of the profit-driven sailing industry even allows for a brief exploration of the English slave trade. Emotional resonance and chockablock seafaring adventures combined with coming-of-age themes takes this over the top. VERDICT An outstanding choice for fans of middle grade nautical adventure and animal narrator novels, especially cat fans, with appeal beyond genre readers. Highly recommended.—Ted McCoy, Springfield City Library, MA

[Page 85]. (c) Copyright 2016 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.