Nonfiction Book Reviews

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Cat Breeds of the World: A Complete Illustrated Encyclopedia by Desmond Morris

Viking, May, 1999.
Hardcover, 256 pages.
ISBN: 0670886394.
Ordering information:

Cat Breeds of the World: A Complete Illustrated Encyclopedia
by Desmond Morris Whether or not one currently lives in a house owned by a cat, reading about these fascinatingly beautiful creatures is always enjoyable as well as informative. Written by a lifelong cat fancier who is also an Oxford trained zoologist, Cat Breeds of the World, is a thorough investigation into all aspects of each currently recognized breed of cats.

Those readers who long to learn the origins of everything will not be disappointed with Mr. Morris' thorough research of each breed. Siamese cat fanciers will be amazed to learn that when in 1901 the Siamese Cat Club contacted the Siamese Legation in London, the reply was that the fawn colored cat with the dark points and blue eyes was rare in all parts of the country. The King of Siam did not keep any special breed, nor was there a Royal Cat of Siam. The reply concluded that these ideas no doubt had come about because Siamese people were generally fond of animals. However, the Korat Cat, known as the Si-Sawat was recorded in The Cat Book Poems written in the Ayudhya Period between 1350 and 1767. This cat is a beautiful purple gray color, and its eyes are green. These cats were used in rain-making ceremonies because of their color. One can find at least ten different explanations for the tailless situation of the Manx cat. Armed with all of this information on origins, one could amaze and impress any collection of cat fanciers.

Since all who enjoy the company of cats are convinced that they are undoubtedly the most beautiful of creatures with which one can spend time, the exquisite portraits of almost all of the recognized breeds will give much pleasure. This collection of photographs will help fix in the reader's mind the standard for each breed. Along with the photographs Mr. Morris has included color and markings as well as body structure and personality. Nor is this book composed to extol the virtues of each breed. Mr. Morris includes frank opinions, and reports on the various controversies surrounding each breed of cat.

Those who appreciate cats will find Cat Breeds of the World an essential book for many reasons. It will settle many arguments and perplexing stories about cats, and it is a most enjoyable book to read.

--Sarah Reaves White

DK French Dictionary by Christopher Lloyd and Richard Bird

DK Publishing, June 1999.
Trade Paperback, 507 pages.
ISBN: 0789444941.
Ordering information:

DK French Dictionary
by DK Publishing The DK French Dictionary contains over 50,000 words and phrases. The dictionary includes separate alphabetical listings of French words with pronunciation and English definitions and English words with French translations and pronunciation. The listings include meanings, pronunciation and usage. A directory of abbreviations is also included in the reference. The French Dictionary is a handy and easy-to-use reference for finding and translating words from French to English and vice versa.

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