Review: The Nine Lives of Jacob Tibbs by Cylin Busby

the nine lives of jacob tibbs

In the tradition of Poppy, the Warriors series, and other beloved animal adventures comes the swashbuckling tale of a brave cat on the high seas.

Captain Natick does not want to take a kitten on board his ship when it sets sail in 1847, but his daughter convinces him that the scrawny yellow cat will bring good luck. Onto the ship the kitten goes, and so begins the adventurous, cliff-hanging, lucky life of Jacob Tibbs. At first, Jacob’s entire world is the ship’s hold, where the sailors heave their heavy loads and despicable, long-tailed rats scurry in the darkness. But before long, Jacob’s voyage takes him above deck and onward to adventure. Along the way, Jacob will encounter loss and despair, brave thunderous storms at sea, face down a mutiny, survive on a desert island, and above all, navigate the tricky waters of shipboard life and loyalties.

Description taken from Goodreads.


I won’t lie, this book shares many similarities with Ann M. Martin’s A Dog’s Life and basically every single seadog story out there (that I’ve read). It’s not incredibly original, and it has a somewhat archaic feeling to its narrative, so I don’t think readers will be nearly as attracted by it as the Warriors series.

For avid readers who are animal lovers, this might be a perfect fit. I for one loved the feeling of the narrative, and I really enjoyed classics in elementary and middle school. The language isn’t hard to understand, but it’s paced slowly and the plot events take time to put together. The Nine Lives of Jacob Tibbs drags in the middle, and while I didn’t think about giving it up, it wasn’t exactly riveting.

If you’re looking for a book for someone who loves cats and the Warriors series, but wants to go for something a little more serious, I would recommend L. Rifkin’s The Nine Lives of Romeo Crumb.

If you’re looking for something a little younger or the same age as kids who loved the Warriors series, maybe try something like the Foxcraft series.

All in all, I would probably only recommend this one to very specialized kids. It’s not a general appealing sort of read, but if you’re trying to go in the classical direction, this might be a good place to start. 3 stars.

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