Varjak Paw by S.F. Said

This is a re-read of a book I first enjoyed over 10 years ago, and am about to use with a group of my Year 5’s for Key Skills, and with my Year 3&4 Telling Tales Book Club, just because I can!

Well, if I’m being totally honest, it’s also because Scholastic asked me if I’d like to try one of their Read and Respond titles, and I jumped at the opportunity, when I saw this was one of their range. I had forgotten just how much I love this story!

Varjak Paw is a Mesopotamian Blue, who loves the Elder Paw’s tales of Jalal, the wise and fearless warrior who brought the Paws to the Contessa’s home, where the family have lived for generations, rarely leaving the comforts of the house.

But, things are about to change as the man with the two fearsome black cats enters their lives. The family turn their backs on whatever dangers they may bring, but the Elder Paw tells Varjak of the Way and that it is time to venture over the high walls enclosing their world, and bring help from Outside.

So begins Varjak’s journey into a dangerous new world, where he has a lot to learn about survival, the Way and himself.

Effortlessly blending adventure and mystery with the philosophy of the Far East, this is a compelling journey of self-discovery. Dave McKean’s illustrations add to the intensity of SF Said’s gritty tale. Long may Varjak Paw keep the Way alive!


Great for fans of Michelle Paver, Derek Landy, Philip Reeve and Robin Jarvis.


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