The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World


By Vicki Myron

With Bret Witter

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Experience the uplifting, “unforgettable” New York Times bestseller about an abandoned kitten named Dewey, whose life in a library won over a farming town and the world — with over 2 million copies sold! (Booklist)

Dewey’s story starts in the worst possible way. On the coldest night of the year in Spencer, Iowa, at only a few weeks old–a critical age for kittens–he was stuffed into the return book slot of the Spencer Public Library. He was found the next morning by library director Vicki Myron, a single mother who had survived the loss of her family farm, a breast cancer scare, and an alcoholic husband. Dewey won her heart, and the hearts of the staff, by pulling himself up and hobbling on frostbitten feet to nudge each of them in a gesture of thanks and love. For the next nineteen years, he never stopped charming the people of Spencer with his enthusiasm, warmth, humility (for a cat), and, above all, his sixth sense about who needed him most.

As his fame grew from town to town, then state to state and finally, amazingly, worldwide, Dewey became more than just a friend; he became a source of pride for an extraordinary Heartland farming community slowly working its way back from the greatest crisis in its long history.


Copyright © 2008 by Vicki Myron

All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of publisher.

Grand Central Publishing

Hachette Book Group

237 Park Avenue

New York, NY 10017

Visit our Web site at

Grateful acknowledgment is given to W. P. Kinsella for permission to quote in Chapter 14 from Shoeless Joe by W. P. Kinsella (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1982).

First eBook Edition: September 2008

Grand Central Publishing is a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

The Grand Central Publishing name and logo is a trademark of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

ISBN: 978-0-446-54220-3

Front jacket photo of Dewey by Rick Krebsbach

Chapter 1

The Coldest Morning

January 18, 1988, was a bitterly cold Iowa Monday. The night before, the temperature had reached minus fifteen degrees, and that didn't take into account the wind, which cut under your coat and squeezed your bones. It was a killing freeze, the kind that made it almost painful to breathe. The problem with flat land, as all of Iowa knows, is that there's nothing to stop the weather. It blows out of Canada, across the Dakotas, and straight into town. The first bridge in Spencer across the Little Sioux, built in the late 1800s, had to be taken down because the river became so jammed with ice everyone worried the pylons would collapse. When the town water tower burned down in 1893—the straw packing used to keep the riser pipe from freezing caught fire, and all the nearby fire hydrants were frozen solid—a two-foot-thick, ten-foot-wide circle of ice slid out the top of the tank, crushed the community recreation center, and shattered all over Grand Avenue. That's winter in Spencer for you.

I have never been a morning person, especially on a dark and cloudy January day, but I have always been dedicated. There were a few cars on the road at seven thirty, when I drove the ten blocks to work, but as usual mine was the first car in the parking lot. Across the street, the Spencer Public Library was dead—no lights, no movement, no sound until I flipped a switch and brought it to life. The heater switched on automatically during the night, but the library was still a freezer first thing in the morning. Whose idea was it to build a concrete and glass building in northern Iowa? I needed my coffee.

I went immediately to the library staff room—nothing more than a kitchenette with a microwave and a sink, a refrigerator too messy for most people's taste, a few chairs, and a phone for personal calls—hung up my coat, and started the coffee. Then I scanned the Saturday newspaper. Most local issues could affect, or could be affected by, the library. The local newspaper, the Spencer Daily Reporter, didn't publish on Sunday or Monday, so Monday was catch-up morning for the Saturday edition.

"Good morning, Vicki," said Jean Hollis Clark, the assistant library director, taking off her scarf and mittens. "It's a mean one out there."

"Good morning, Jean," I said, putting aside the paper.

In the center of the staff room, against the back wall, was a large metal box with a hinged lid. The box was two feet high and four feet square, about the size of a two-person kitchen table if you sawed the legs in half. A metal chute rose out of the top of the box, then disappeared into the wall. At the other end, in the alley behind the building, was a metal slot: the library's after-hours book return.

You find all kinds of things in a library drop box—garbage, rocks, snowballs, soda cans. Librarians don't talk about it, because it gives people ideas, but all libraries deal with it. Video stores probably have the same problem. Stick a slot in a wall and you're asking for trouble, especially if, as it did at the Spencer Public Library, the slot opened onto a back alley across the street from the town's middle school. Several times we had been startled in the middle of the afternoon by a loud pop from the drop box. Inside, we'd find a firecracker.

After the weekend, the drop box would also be full of books, so every Monday I loaded them onto one of our book carts so the clerks could process and shelve them later in the day. When I came back with the cart on this particular Monday morning, Jean was standing quietly in the middle of the room.

"I heard a noise."

"What kind of noise?"

"From the drop box. I think it's an animal."

"A what?"

"An animal. I think there's an animal in the drop box."

That was when I heard it, a low rumble from under the metal cover. It didn't sound like an animal. It sounded more like an old man struggling to clear his throat. But I doubted it was an old man. The opening at the top of the chute was only a few inches wide, so that would be quite a squeeze. It was an animal, I had little doubt of that, but what kind? I got down on my knees, reached over to the lid, and hoped for a chipmunk.

The first thing I felt was a blast of freezing air. Someone had jammed a book into the return slot, wedging it open. It was as cold in the box as it was outside; maybe colder, since the box was lined with metal. You could have kept frozen meat in there. I was still catching my breath when I saw the kitten.

It was huddled in the front left corner of the box, its head down, its legs tucked underneath it, trying to appear as small as possible. The books were piled haphazardly to the top of the box, partially hiding it from view. I lifted one gingerly for a better look. The kitten looked up at me, slowly and sadly. Then it lowered its head and sank down into its hole. It wasn't trying to appear tough. It wasn't trying to hide. I don't even think it was scared. It was just hoping to be saved.

I know melting can be a cliché, but I think that's what actually happened to me at that moment: I lost every bone in my body. I am not a mushy person. I'm a single mother and a farm girl who has steered her life through hard times, but this was so, so . . . unexpected.

I lifted the kitten out of the box. My hands nearly swallowed it. We found out later it was eight weeks old, but it looked no more than eight days old, if that. It was so thin I could see every rib. I could feel its heart beating, its lungs pumping. The poor kitten was so weak it could barely hold up its head, and it was shaking uncontrollably. It opened its mouth, but the sound, which came two seconds later, was weak and ragged.

And cold. That's what I remember most, because I couldn't believe a living animal could be so cold. It felt like there was no warmth at all. So I cradled the kitten in my arms to share my heat. It didn't fight. Instead, it snuggled into my chest, then laid its head against my heart.

"Oh, my golly," said Jean.

"The poor baby," I said, squeezing tighter.

"It's adorable."

Neither of us said anything for a while. We were just staring at the kitten. Finally Jean said, "How do you think it got in there?"

I wasn't thinking about last night. I was only thinking about right now. It was too early to call the veterinarian, who wouldn't be in for an hour. But the kitten was so cold. Even in the warmth of my arms, I could feel it shaking.

"We've got to do something," I said.

Jean grabbed a towel, and we wrapped the little fellow up until only its nose was sticking out, its huge eyes staring from the shadows in disbelief.

"Let's give it a warm bath," I said. "Maybe that will stop the shivering."

I filled the staff room sink with warm water, testing it with my elbow as I clutched the kitten in my arms. It slid into the sink like a block of ice. Jean found some shampoo in the art closet, and I rubbed the kitten slowly and lovingly, almost petting it. As the water turned grayer and grayer, the kitten's wild shivering turned to soft purring. I smiled. This kitten was tough. But it was so very young. When I finally lifted it out of the sink, it looked like a newborn: huge lidded eyes and big ears sticking out from a tiny head and an even smaller body. Wet, defenseless, and meowing quietly for its mother.

We dried it with the blow dryer we used for drying glue at craft time. Within thirty seconds, I was holding a beautiful, long-haired orange tabby. The kitten had been so filthy, I had thought it was gray.

By this time Doris and Kim had arrived, and there were four people in the staff room, each cooing over the kitten. Eight hands touched it, seemingly at once. The other three staffers talked over one another while I stood silently cradling the kitten like a baby and rocking back and forth from foot to foot.

"Where did it come from?"

"The drop box."


"Is it a boy or a girl?"

I glanced up. They were all looking at me. "A boy," I said.

"He's beautiful."

"How old is he?"

"How did he get in the box?"

I wasn't listening. I only had eyes for the kitten.

"It's so cold."

"Bitterly cold."

"The coldest morning of the year."

A pause, then: "Someone must have put him in the box."

"That's awful."

"Maybe they were trying to save him. From the cold."

"I don't know . . . he's so helpless."

"He's so young."

"He's so beautiful. Oh, he's breaking my heart."

I put him down on the table. The poor kitten could barely stand. The pads on all four of his paws were frostbitten, and over the next week they would turn white and peel off. And yet the kitten managed to do something truly amazing. He steadied himself on the table and slowly looked up into each face. Then he began to hobble. As each person reached to pet him, he rubbed his tiny head against her hand and purred. Forget the horrible events in his young life. Forget the cruel person who shoved him down that library drop box. It was as if, from that moment on, he wanted to personally thank every person he ever met for saving his life.

By now it had been twenty minutes since I pulled the kitten out of the drop box, and I'd had plenty of time to think through a few things—the once common practice of keeping library cats, my ongoing plan to make the library more friendly and appealing, the logistics of bowls and food and cat litter, the trusting expression on the kitten's face when he burrowed into my chest and looked up into my eyes. So I was more than prepared when someone finally asked, "What should we do with him?"

"Well," I said, as if the thought had just occurred to me, "maybe we can keep him."

Chapter 2

A Perfect Addition

The most amazing thing about the kitten was how happy he was that first day. Here he was in a new environment, surrounded by eager strangers who wanted nothing more than to squeeze him, fondle him, and coo over him, and he was perfectly calm. No matter how many times we passed him from hand to hand, and no matter what position we held him in, he was never jumpy or fidgety. He never tried to bite or get away. Instead, he just melted into each person's arms and stared up into her eyes.

And that was no small feat, because we didn't leave him alone for a second. If someone had to set him down—for instance, because there was actual work to do—there were always at least five sets of hands ready to grab him, hold him, and love him. In fact, when I set him down at closing time that first night, I had to watch him for five minutes to make sure he could totter all the way to his food dish and litter box. I don't think his poor frostbitten feet had touched the ground all day.

The next morning, Doris Armstrong brought in a warm pink blanket. Doris was the grandparent on staff, our mother hen. We all watched as she bent down and scratched the kitten under the chin, then folded the blanket and put it in a cardboard box. The kitten stepped gingerly into the box and curled his legs underneath his body for warmth. His eyes closed in blissful contentment, but he had only a few seconds to rest before someone snatched him up and wrapped him in her arms. A few seconds, but it was enough. The staff had been polarized for years. Now we were all making accommodations, coming together as a family, and the kitten was clearly happy to call the library home.

It wasn't until late the second morning that we finally shared our little guy with someone outside the staff. That person was Mary Houston, Spencer's local historian and a member of the library board. The staff may already have accepted the kitten, but keeping him wasn't our decision. The previous day I had called the mayor, Squeege Chapman, who was in his last month in office. As I suspected, he didn't care. Squeege wasn't a reader; I'm not even sure he knew Spencer had a library. The city attorney, my second call, didn't know of any statutes barring animals from the library and didn't feel compelled to spend time looking for one. Good enough for me. The library board, a panel of citizens appointed by the mayor to oversee the library, had the final say. They didn't object to the idea of a library cat, but I can't say they were enthusiastic. Their response was more "Let's give it a try" than "Heck, yeah, we're behind you a hundred percent."

That's why meeting a board member like Mary was so important. Agreeing to have an animal in the library was one thing; agreeing on this animal was another thing entirely. You can't just put any cute cat in a library. If he's not friendly, he's going to make enemies. If he's too shy or scared, nobody will stand up for him. If he's not patient, he's going to bite. If he's too rambunctious, he's going to make a mess. And above all, he has to love being around people, and he has to make those people love him back. In short, it has to be the right cat.

I had no doubt about our boy. From the moment he looked up into my eyes that first morning, so calm and content, I knew he was right for the library. There wasn't a flutter in his heart as I held him in my arms; there wasn't a moment of panic in his eyes. He trusted me completely. He trusted everyone on staff completely. That's what made him so special: his complete and unabashed trust. And because of it, I trusted him, too.

But that doesn't mean I wasn't a little apprehensive when I motioned Mary into the staff area. As I took the kitten in my arms and turned to face her, I felt a flutter in my heart, a moment of doubt. When the kitten had looked into my eyes, something else had happened, too; we had made a connection. He was more than just a cat to me. It had only been a day, but already I couldn't stand the thought of being without him.

"There he is," Mary exclaimed with a smile. I held him a little more tightly as she reached out to pet him on the top of the head, but Dewey didn't even stiffen. Instead, he stretched out his neck to sniff her hand.

"Oh, my," Mary said. "He's handsome."

Handsome. I heard it over and over again the next few days because there was no other way to describe him. This was a handsome cat. His coat was a mix of vibrant orange and white with subtle darker stripes. It grew longer as he got older, but as a kitten it was thick and stylishly long only around his neck. A lot of cats have pointy noses, or their mouths jut out a bit too far, or they're a little lopsided, but this kitten's face was perfectly proportioned. And his eyes, those huge golden eyes.

But it wasn't just his looks that made him beautiful; it was also his personality. If you cared at all about cats, you just had to hold him. There was something in his face, in the way he looked at you, that called out for love.

"He likes to be cradled," I said, gently sliding him into Mary's arms. "No, on his back. That's right. Like a baby."

"A one-pound baby."

"I don't think he even weighs that much."

The kitten shook his tail and nestled down into Mary's arms. He didn't just trust the library staff instinctively, it turned out; he trusted everyone.

"Oh, Vicki," Mary said. "He's adorable. What's his name?"

"We're calling him Dewey. After Melville Dewey. But we haven't really decided on a name yet."

"Hi, Dewey. Do you like the library?" Dewey stared into Mary's face, then pushed his head against her arm. Mary looked up with a smile. "I could hold him all day."

But, of course, she didn't. She put Dewey back into my arms, and I took him around the corner. The entire staff was waiting for us. "That went well," I said. "One down, ten thousand to go."

Slowly we started introducing Dewey to a few regulars known to love cats. He was still weak, so we passed him directly into their arms. Marcie Muckey came in that second day. Instantly smitten. Mike Baehr and his wife, Peg, loved him. "This is a great idea," they said, which was nice to hear since Mike was on the library board. Pat Jones and Judy Johnson thought him adorable. Actually there were four Judy Johnsons in Spencer. Two were regular library users, and both were Dewey fans. How big is a town of 10,000 people? Big enough to have four Judy Johnsons, three furniture stores, two commercial streets with stoplights, but only one mansion. Everyone calls it The Mansion. Typical Iowa—no fuss, no bother, just the facts.

A week later, Dewey's story ran on the front page of the Spencer Daily Reporter under the headline "Purr-fect Addition Made to Spencer Library." The article, which took up half the page, told the story of Dewey's miraculous rescue and was accompanied by a color photograph of a tiny orange kitten staring shyly but confidently into the camera from atop an old-fashioned pull-drawer card catalog.

Publicity is a dangerous thing. For a week, Dewey had been a secret between the library staff and a few select patrons. If you didn't come into the library, you didn't know about him. Now everyone in town knew. Most people, even library regulars, didn't give Dewey a second thought. There were two groups, though, that were thrilled by his arrival: the cat lovers and the children. Just the smiles on the faces of the children, their excitement and laughter, were enough to convince me Dewey should stay.

Then there were the complainers. I was a little disappointed, I must admit, but not surprised. There is nothing on God's green earth that someone won't complain about, including both God and green earth.

One woman took particular offense. Her letter, sent to me and every member of the city council, was pure fire and brimstone, full of images of children keeling over from sudden asthma attacks and pregnant mothers spontaneously miscarrying when exposed to kitty litter. According to the letter, I was a murderous madwoman who was not only threatening the health of every innocent child in town, born or unborn, but also destroying the social fabric of the community. An animal! In a library! If we let that stand, what was to stop people from walking a cow down Grand Avenue? In fact, she threatened to show up in the library one morning very soon with her cow in tow. Fortunately nobody took her seriously. I have no doubt she spoke for others in the community, in her overblown way, but general anger wasn't my concern. None of those people, as far as I could tell, ever visited the library.

Far more important to me, though, were the worried phone calls. "My child has allergies. What am I going to do? He loves the library," one woman said. I knew that would be the most common concern, so I was prepared. A year earlier, Muffin, the beloved cat-in-residence at the Putnam Valley Library in upstate New York, had been banished after a library board member developed a severe cat allergy. As a consequence, the library lost $80,000 in promised donations, mostly from the estates of local citizens. I had no intention of letting my cat, or my library, go the way of Muffin.

Spencer didn't have an allergist, so I solicited the advice of two general practice doctors. The Spencer Public Library, they noted, was a large, open space sectioned off by rows of four-foot-high shelves. The staff area, my office, and the supply closets were enclosed by a temporary wall, leaving six feet open to the ceiling. There were two door-size openings in that wall, and since neither had a door, they were always accessible. Even the staff area was an open space, with desks pushed back-to-back or separated by bookshelves.

Not only did this layout allow Dewey easy access to the safety of the staff area at all times, but the doctors assured me it would also prevent the buildup of dander and hair. The library, apparently, was perfectly designed to prevent allergies. If anyone on staff had been allergic it might have been a problem, but a few hours of exposure every couple of days? The doctors agreed there was nothing to worry about.

I spoke personally with each concerned caller and passed on this professional assessment. The parents were skeptical, of course, but most brought their children to the library for a trial run. I held Dewey in my arms for each visit. I not only didn't know how the parents would react, I didn't know how Dewey would react because the children were so excited to see him. Their mothers would tell them to be quiet, be gentle. The children would approach slowly, tentatively, and whisper, "Hi, Dewey," and then explode with squeals as their mothers ushered them away with a quick, "That's enough." Dewey didn't mind the noise; he was the calmest kitten I'd ever seen. He did mind, I think, that these children weren't allowed to pet him.

But a few days later, one family was back, this time with a camera. And this time the allergic little boy, the object of such concern for the mother, was sitting beside Dewey, petting him, while his mother took pictures.

"Justin can't have pets," she told me. "I never knew how much he missed them. He loves Dewey already."

I loved Dewey already, too. We all loved Dewey. How could you resist his charm? He was beautiful, loving, social—and still limping on his tiny frostbitten feet. What I couldn't believe was how much Dewey loved us. How comfortable he seemed around strangers. His attitude seemed to be, how can anyone not love a cat? Or more simply, how can anyone resist me? Dewey didn't think of himself, I soon realized, as just another cat. He always thought of himself, correctly, as one of a kind.

Chapter 3

Dewey Readmore Books

Dewey was a fortunate cat. He not only survived the freezing library drop box, but also fell into the arms of a staff that loved him and a library perfectly designed to care for him. There were no two ways about it, Dewey led a charmed life. But Spencer was also lucky, because Dewey couldn't have fallen into our lives at a better time. That winter wasn't just bitterly cold; it was one of the worst times in Spencer's history.

Those who lived in larger cities may not remember the farm crisis of the 1980s. Maybe you remember Willie Nelson and Farm Aid. Maybe you remember reading about the collapse of family farming, about the nation moving from small growers to large factory farms that stretch for miles without a farmhouse, or even a farmworker, in sight. For most people, it was just a story, not something that affected them directly.

In Spencer, you could feel it: in the air, in the ground, in every spoken word. We had a solid manufacturing base, but we were still a farm town. We supported, and were supported by, farmers. And on the farms, things were falling apart. These were families we knew, families that had lived in the area for generations, and we could see the strain. First they stopped coming in for new parts and machinery, making do with bootstrap repairs. Then they cut back on supplies. Finally they stopped making mortgage payments, hoping for a booming harvest to set the account books right. When a miracle didn't come, the banks foreclosed. Almost half the farms in northwest Iowa went into foreclosure in the 1980s. Most of the new owners were giant farming conglomerates, out-of-state speculators, or insurance companies.

The farm crisis wasn't a natural disaster like the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. This was primarily a financial disaster. In 1978, farmland in Clay County was selling for $900 an acre. Then the price of land took off. In 1982, farmland was selling for $2,000 an acre. A year later, it was $4,000 an acre. Farmers borrowed up and bought more land. Why not, when the price was going up forever and you could make more money selling off land every few years than you could farming it?

Then the economy took a downturn. The price of land began to drop and credit dried up. The farmers couldn't borrow against their land to buy new machinery, or even new seed for the planting season. Crop prices weren't high enough to pay the interest on the old loans, many of which had rates of more than 20 percent a year. It took four or five years to reach bottom, years with false bottoms and false hopes, but economic forces were pulling our farmers steadily down.

In 1985, Land O'Lakes, the giant butter and margarine manufacturer, pulled out of the plant on the north edge of town. Soon after, unemployment reached 10 percent, which doesn't sound too bad until you realize that the population of Spencer had fallen from 11,000 to 8,000 in just a few years. The value of houses dropped 25 percent seemingly overnight. People were leaving the county, even the state of Iowa, looking for jobs.

The price of farmland plummeted further, forcing more farmers into foreclosure. But selling the land at auction couldn't cover the loans; the banks were stuck with the loss. These were rural banks, the backbones of small towns. They made loans to local farmers, men and women they knew and trusted. When the farmers couldn't pay, the system collapsed. In towns all across Iowa, banks failed. Banks were failing across the entire Midwest. The savings and loan in Spencer was sold to outsiders for pennies on the dollar, and the new owners didn't want to make new loans. Economic development stalled. As late as 1989, there wasn't a single housing permit issued in the city of Spencer. Not one. Nobody wanted to put money into a dying town.

Every Christmas, Spencer had a Santa Claus. The retailers sponsored a raffle and gave away a trip to Hawaii. In 1979, there wasn't a vacant storefront in town for Santa to set up shop in. In 1985, there were twenty-five empty storefronts downtown, a 30 percent vacancy rate. No trip to Hawaii was offered. Santa barely made it to town. There was a running joke: the last store owner out of downtown Spencer, please turn off the lights.

The library did what it could. When Land O'Lakes skipped town, we set up a job bank that contained all our job listings and books on job skills, job descriptions, and technical training. We set up a computer so local men and women could create résumés and cover letters. This was the first computer most of these people had ever seen. It was almost depressing how many people used the job bank. And if it was depressing for an employed librarian, just think how depressing it was for a laid-off factory worker, bankrupt small business owner, or out-of-work farmhand.

Then into our laps fell Dewey. I don't want to make too much of this one turn of events, because Dewey didn't put food on anyone's table. He didn't create jobs. He didn't turn our economy around. But one of the worst things about bad times is the effect on your mind. Bad times drain you of energy. They occupy your thoughts. They taint everything in your life. Bad news is as poisonous as bad bread. At the very least, Dewey was a distraction.

But he was so much more. Dewey's story resonated with the people of Spencer. We identified with it. Hadn't we all been shoved down the library drop box by the banks? By outside economic forces? By the rest of America, which ate our food but didn't care about the people who grew it?


  • "What an extraordinary story of love, courage and devotion. I will not soon forget the good people of Spencer, Iowa and their wonderful library cat. Dewey is truly inspiration for the soul."—Jack Canfield, co-creator of CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL
  • "Through this plucky cat we come to know and love the town of Spencer, Iowa and learn lessons about courage, generosity and the power of relationships. Dewey is a hero. I wish there were more people like him."—Toni Raiten-D'Antonio, author of THE VELVETEEN PRINCIPLES
  • "Iowa has produced great Hall of Famers, like baseball's Bob Feller. Iowa has now produced a true feline Hall of Famer, a loveable library celebrity named Dewey, who put Spencer, Iowa, on the international map. This book is a purring good read, whether you are a cat lover, or not."—Jim Fanning, former Major League Baseball player and manager
  • "The story of Dewey, author Vicki Myron, and Spencer, Iowa, captures what makes small town life worth preserving--a sense of community. Dewey rekindles my belief that one person (together with one cat) can change lives. Vicki gives Spencer's famous library cat a 10th life by writing this engaging biography."—Christie Vilsack, former First Lady of Iowa and President of The Vilsack Foundation
  • "DEWEY...the memoir will be a hit, comparable to Marley or Anna Quindlen's Good Dog. Stay."—Bob Wietrak, Barnes & Noble (New York, NY)
  • " the story about how an attitude of love and devotion enriched the town of Spencer, Iowa, in a time when they needed it most. Dewey was not only a fixture at the Spencer Library for 18 years, he was also an international star of magazines, newspapers, and foreign documentaries...His story unfolds with humor, poignancy, and warmth that carries the reader to the very end."—Sharon, Beaverdale Books (Des Moines, IA)
  • "DEWEY...Finally, a lead title for cat people. If only all abandoned cats were as lucky as Dewey Readmore Books, or should it be if only all libraries were as lucky as Spenser Public Library? After reading this truly uplifting story, I want a Dewey Readmore Books for our bookstore! I'll have fun selling this one."—Karin Wilson, Page & Palette (Fairhope, AL)
  • "This Librarian thought DEWEY was the Cats Meow! It will make you laugh and cry so much that you will want to Readmore Books! I adored DEWEY. There are few books that are as memorable; DEWEY the small town library cat will be one of those books that will be etched in my memory for a lifetime."—Jennifer Teitelbaum, San Diego County Library (San Diego, CA)
  • "Do not read DEWEY: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World! Unless you want to saturate a couple of otherwise perfectly good handkerchiefs, rid your thoughts of anything negative and at least for a little while, contemplate what a lovely world we inhabit."—Jake Reiss, The Alabama Booksmith (Homewood, AL)
  • "DEWEY is charming, lovely, and moving. It's about life and death and small-town values and, above all, love. Norton would have liked Dewey--the cat and the book-- immensely."—Peter Gethers, author of THE CAT WHO WENT TO PARIS and THE CAT WHO'LL LIVE FOREVER
  • "I was enchanted with antics of DEWEY, but also moved by Vicki's personal story and the wonderful presentation of my hometown...Whether you are a cat person, a book lover, or curious about life in small-town America, this story has something for everyone."—Bonnie Mauer, Anderson's Bookshops (Naperville, IL)
  • "By the end, I was openly weeping. Fellow cat ladies and ladies, put your pretensions aside and give this one a chance."—BookPage

On Sale
Sep 24, 2008
Page Count
304 pages

Vicki Myron

About the Author

Vicki Myron, the former director of the Spencer (Iowa) Public Library, spent nineteen years with the real Dewey Readmore Books, who she rescued from the library’s book return drop on a freezing winter morning. This book, like all the Dewey children’s books, is based on Dewey’s real adventures in the library. Now retired, Vicki lives and writes in Spencer, Iowa, where she continues to be known as “Dewey’s Mommy.” She invites you to visit Dewey’s website at

Bret Witter has collaborated with Vicki Myron since 2006 and has enjoyed every minute. He lives in Louisville, Kentucky with his wife and two children.

Steve James has always enjoyed making pictures. Steve received his BFA in illustration from Brigham Young University where he studied traditional painting techniques. He now lives in Lehi, Utah with his wife and crazy cat.

Learn more about this author