The Warrior Cats series by Erin Hunter is not for the faint of heart. This is an exquisitely detailed, daily account of the life of feral cat "clans". The stories are quite raw with drama, intrigue and some violence; loyalty and hard work is rewarded while there are those who "choose" to live from the dark side.
When we first found these books, I started reading it to Molly before bed and I was honestly pretty shocked at the graphic depictions of the scuffles between the clans. Mostly about territory disputes and loss of resources, these story are a little microcosm of the human condition in tribal form. Rich with tradition, myth and ritual, these cats live their lives with dignity and purpose, with focus on love and friendship and making good choices. There is liberal dosed of forbidden love as cats are not allowed to mate outside of their clan. Yet, females are respected and honored and have important work to do. This is not a chauvinistic cat society. Motherhood is honored and the children "kits" are treasured as the bright hope for the future that they are.
Although, our pre-bedtime reading has moved on to other "lighter" reading, Molly has dived into this cat world with what I can only call voraciousness that does not surprise me as I recognize it in myself.
Erin Hunter, actually four writers, crank these books out pretty darn fast and have found a winning formula with these series. There are 17 total books from the main series, 2 field guides, 5 Manga (graphic novels) and one special addition. Molly has one by one devoured them all in just mere days. Now, as she waits impatiently for the next book, she has turned to the beginning and is starting it all over again.
I remember my mom saying that being able to give the joy of reading to your children is one of the best gifts a parent can do. I so agree.