December 22, 2014


Ocracoke author's newest book stars a cat and a dog

By IRENE NOLAN


Ocracoke author Pat Garber's newest book, "Paws and Tales," is a story told by a dog and a cat, which doesn't seem at all strange to anyone who knows the writer -- an animal lover whose two most popular books feature the island's wildlife.

The new book features mystery, adventure, and romance all rolled into one story that will please the young, young-at-heart, and Ocracoke lovers everywhere.

Kali is a sailboat cat, whose human, Sam, steers his boat into Ocracoke harbor one day and it's clear from the beginning that there is a mysterious something, perhaps not all that good, in his memory of the island. Harvey, a loveable Doberman pinscher, resides on the island with his human, Emily, who is working to stop a rather obnoxious man who wants to drill for oil off Ocracoke.

The four have a rather auspicious first meeting when Harvey jumps out of the back of a pickup truck and chases Kali off the Community Store dock and into the water. Sam is very upset with the dog's behavior, and Emily is upset and embarrassed by her pup.

Meanwhile, Kali, washes up on shore underneath the fish house and into the world of the homeless, feral "Ocracats."


Kali finds his way back to Sam, who tracks down Emily at the ice-cream stand where she works to report that the cat has been recovered and invites Emily to dinner on his sailboat.

As life on the island goes on, narrated by Kali and Harvey, there is a community meeting and much outrage about the proposed oil drilling. Eventually the nasty man who plans to do it, Rakes, turns up dead.

When Emily is arrested for the murder, the dogs and cats, of course, have to go to work to prove -- with a little human help -- that she is innocent.

I've worked with Pat as a writer for more than 20 years now, and always enjoy her work -- from wildlife to conservation to Ocracoke history and her profiles of the island's people.  This, however, is one of my favorites. An earlier version of it was serialized in 2007 in the Island Free Press.

The tale, published by Shroeder Publications of Lynchburg, Va., is a charming tale that is both endearing and whimsical.  It will really be enjoyed by lovers of Ocracoke, who will recognize many of the sites, sounds, and customs of the island.
Kali and Harvey are based on Pat's own pets -- her cat, Miss Kelley, and her dog, Huck. "Paws and Tales" is illustrated by rustic drawings by the author. You may recognize scenes such as Emily's house, which looks an awful lot like Pat's cottage in the marsh, and the sailboat tied up at the Community Store docks. She's also done drawings of the various cats and dogs who make up the supporting cast, each with its own personality.

Pat's most popular books are "Ocracoke Wild" and "Ocracoke Odyssey" about the island's wildlife and her own naturalist's observations about the flora and fauna. She's also written "Little Sea Horse," based on the story of the Ocracoke ponies, and "Heart Like a River," based on her great-grandfather's diary of his times fighting for the South in the Civil War.

The book is for sale on Hatteras at Buxton Village Books and on Ocracoke at Village Craftsman, the Variety Store, and Books to be Red.  Online it can be ordered through Buxton Village Books (see ad on IFP Front Page) and Schroeder Publications, http://www.civilwar-books.com/.

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