Children - Fantasy/Sci-Fi
272 Pages
Reviewed on 04/06/2015
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Chermpf is a children's fantasy written and illustrated by William S. Russell III. Grace was busy drawing a flying tarantula when Grandpa Sal roared up in his Corvette. He was carrying a cardboard box when he walked into the house. Ann, Grace's mother, and Grace both wanted to see what was in that box, and it turned out to be a small tabby kitten. For some reason, that box signaled something momentous would be happening to Grace, and she wasn't quite sure how to reconcile that feeling with the small kitten inside that said, "Chermpf" when she asked its name. Then there was that strange sparkling in its mouth when it yawned. No one seems terribly impressed with Grandpa Sal's surprise, especially Roscoe, the house cat who just happens to be Grace's personal friend.

William S. Russell III's steampunk fantasy, Chermpf, is listed as a children's book, but don't let that stop you from reading this marvelous and original fantasy. It's got cats in it and a feline city called Nova, and the Ergasi, cunning little metal engineers who are mechanical marvels. I wasn't really sure what to expect from what appeared to be an animal-related children's fantasy, but Chermpf mightily exceeded any expectations I may have had. The characters quickly became friends, especially the little tuxedo cat, Mimyat, and Bear, but I'd be hard pressed to discount any character's part in making this book work so well. Russell's story-telling skills are honed well indeed if this ingenious metaphysical children's fantasy is at all indicative of them. I was also quite pleased to discover that this is just the first volume of a series. Chermpf is a first-rate steampunk fantasy and it's most highly recommended.

Michelle Robertson

Don't be fooled by the title of the series; you don't have to be a cat owner or lover to enjoy this story. That being said, come join Gracie Fisher as she ventures out of her backyard on a moonlit night, following her cat Roscoe. Little did she know she would discover an old secret about cats and their knowledge of the world, the way it works, and many other fun, exciting, unbelievable things.

Chermpf, Book one in the Cats of Nova series by William S. Russell III, is an intriguing and humorous children's sci-fi book filled with adventure and fantasy. Children and cats are both often looked upon as being independent and audacious with their actions and way of thinking, "smarter than their own good," if you will. The author has come up with an exciting and extraordinary plot where a young reader can appreciate the humor - spiders with wings, and a cat with secrets one would have to see to truly believe. Although the book is fantasy in genre, and made for children, there are many life lessons within this book that both young readers and adults can learn from and enjoy.

Normally I don't read books with a sci-fi type theme, but the description of the book drew me to it. I have often heard people say cats' wisdom is beyond ours as human beings, They have their own comprehension and that is why they are very independent, secretive, and mysterious creatures. After reading Chermpf and thoroughly enjoying the author's well written, exciting, and at times funny, story, I would recommend this book.

Jane Finch

Chermpf, written and illustrated by William S. Russell III, is the story of Gracie Fisher who is presented with a little kitten by her grandfather. Although the family already have a cat named Roscoe, the kitten seems special and, against her mother’s better judgement, the kitten is adopted into the Fisher household. It soon transpires that this is no ordinary kitten and Gracie is beguiled by her from the start. Eventually the kitten leads Gracie and Roscoe on a wild fantasy adventure, where strange prehistoric animals lurk and all is never as it seems. This is not just an adventure but a mission, where Gracie and her strange companions could save humanity.

William S. Russell III has written a delightful adventure story that is both full of suspense and intrigue, and will make you laugh as well as mystify your mind. The writing is smooth and the characters are well crafted and believable, and the idea of the kitten with a vision is very clever. Cats, after all, are renowned for being somewhat mystical and secretive, so this really works well. Grandpa is a great character and the idea of his having his own names for everyday things like shoes was a clever way to express his eccentricity. This is a story that is memorable and could be enjoyed by adults and children alike, and the amusing illustrations are a great addition and enhance the story perfectly.