Arlo's Epiphany

Rated 3.27/5 based on 13 reviews
An installment in the Secret Life and Career of Arlo the Barncat, feline covert operative More

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About Jane Oldaker

Born and raised in Toronto, Jane escaped to the family farm near Port Perry, Ontario at the earliest opportunity where she lives with her husband, daughter and an assortment of cats, dogs, chickens and horses.

Also in The Secret Life and Career of Arlo the Barncat

Also by This Author

Reviews

Review by: rmurdock60 on July 29, 2014 : (no rating)
I loved the concept of Arlo's Epipany, and found the storyline entertaining. If the narration was trimmed just a bit, it would shine even more. I had to start to read it over again a few times, as the first few pages just didn't pulll me in, but once I persevered It was worth the effort. A nice take on how to handle bullies.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Chris Hooker on July 07, 2014 :
I loved the concept of [Arlo's Epiphany] by [Jane Oldaker] but it could have been so much more. It was a cute story about a secret agent barncat and the lesson he learns about friendship. I would have liked this to be expanded to a novel because there is so much that can be done with the ideas and characters.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: melissa pollard on Jan. 06, 2014 :
I was given this book in exchange for an honest review.

I loved the concept - had me thinking along the lines of cats vs dogs, but a grown-up version. There were some typos but it is an easy quick read. The only complaint I have is the author tried hard making sure readers knew the agents were smart by using "big words" a lot. Some of that pulls you away from the story. So while I liked the story I was not drawn in like I want to be as a reader. Overall great story and I will be reading more from this author.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: Dingbat Publishing on Nov. 06, 2013 :
This is a cute "secret lives of animals" short story. Engaging characters, entertaining storyline, and lots and lots (and lots) of narration. It includes one of the most hilarious chase scenes I've ever read, one of the best feline secret agents ever, and if the narration were trimmed down some this would easily garner four stars. As it stands, let's call it 3.5 stars.

I received a free copy of this short story through the LibraryThing Member Giveaway program. Thanks for the fun read, Ms Oldaker.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: RJ M on Oct. 30, 2013 :
This is a book that is short but has several strong messages. 1. Friends are around even if you believe they are not 2. Bullies are not just humans.

If I were to read this to elementary school children I would have to change alot of the vocabulary or spend too long explaining the vocabulary and lose the story. Also, I think we would have to do a chart to keep all of the characters straight.

There is no backstory so I wondered how the animals communicated with each other and the humans.

Overall, as an adult, I enjoyed the story. I do not think it was written for children.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Georgia on Jan. 13, 2013 :
Every Evil Doer Needs an Evil Animal Companion

Arlo's Epiphany by Jane Oldaker is a short, little story starring Arlo the Barncat. Arlo is different from your average cat or dog though. He's a covert operative working for the Agency.

What is the Agency? And why was it founded? Well all over the world there are villains and these villains train animals to be villainous and perform villainous deeds (enough with the villainous). So of course an opposing force had to be created.

Like all Agents, Arlo can talk to various species (including humans). The Agency employs its own medical expert, Dr.Phelps, who works undercover as a vet. They also have handlers. Arlo's is Charlie, who debriefs him after every mission. Arlo himself is a "technocat". With his Stealthberry and skills, he's a wizz at all things technical and generally and all round fantastic agent. There is only one aspect that he falls short on- thuggery. Yes he can walk the walk, but not talk the talk.

This worries his old friend (and retired agent) Mahoney. A mature, feral tomcat, his reputation precedes him and none dare mess with the infamous Mahoney. But when Arlo comes visiting and claims to have been attacked (with the bite marks and missing fur to prove it), Mahoney suspects none other than his long-time rival, McTavish. This attack has his MO all over it, but Mahoney must follow Agency rules and they clearly state he is not allowed to attack non-strategic animals. Maybe he can find a way around that rule without actually breaking it?

A fun, little story with plenty of character. Any animal can be an Agent, so we get hilarious characters and situations, such as Agent Brenda Chicken- who can peck with the speed of a striking cobra.

I'm not entirely sure what age group this book is intended for, however. My natural instinct would be younger readers, but there are some rather large words for small children. For example, here are some words I can see younger readers having problems with; avuncular, sporadically; incorrigible; insouciance to name a few. While I realise this could be a good method to teach children what these words mean, I still hesitate to say this is a book for small children.

Also, Arlo may be the name on the cover, but it is Mahoney who we see through the eyes of for most of this book. Not that that's a bad thing (and it may only be in this book that this occurs). I'm assuming this will be a series and we'll hear more from Arlo and friends in the future.

We do get a couple of nice illustrations of a few characters that are pleasant to spy as you scroll through the pages.

I found the subject a little familiar too. For anyone who has ever read the Hank the Cowdog series, you will probably realise what I'm talking about. However, the main difference (aside from the characters and situations being completely different) is that Hank just believed himself to be "Head of Ranch Security", but Arlo actually is an Agent. He can talk to animals and humans and do all the stuff we read about. It's not the fantasy of an imaginative cat.

There are some nice characters that make this book worth the read. If you're interested, why not give it a try?

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the author. This is not a sponsored review. All opinions are 100% my own.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Kyrana Jones on Jan. 13, 2013 :
Arlo's Epiphany by Jane Oldaker is a fun story about the imaginary adventures of a barn cat and his encounter with a local bully. Readers of all ages can connect with the characters as they grapple with the consequences of this event.
This book is a great tool for initiating a discussion with children about responding to bullying.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Kyrana Jones on Jan. 13, 2013 : (no rating)
Arlo's Epiphany by Jane Oldaker is a fun story about the imaginary adventures of a barn cat and his encounter with a local bully. Readers of all ages can connect with the characters as they grapple with the consequences of this event.

This book is a great tool for initiating a discussion with children about responding to bullying.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Julie Worth on Jan. 13, 2013 :
It's a cute little story that contains an important lesson about judging others. I do think that the vocabulary was a bit advanced for the age of the intended audience.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: crystal clancy on Jan. 12, 2013 :
Cute! But seemed more like a kids book with really big words.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: fuzzi1 on Jan. 11, 2013 :
Arlo's Epiphany (Arlo the Barncat) by Jane Oldaker

Arlo the cat is part of something bigger than chasing mice, he's an agent in an organization created to keep evil forces at bay.

I liked the idea for the book, but had a hard time getting past the first 10 or so pages due to the writing style: there is too much "explanation" in some areas of the story, not enough in others.

A rewrite might help.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Lee Ashford on Jan. 07, 2013 :
I received a free copy of this book from the author, through LibraryThings; an honest review was requested.

“Arlo’s Epiphany” by Jane Oldaker is a cute story in a series of stories, in which various domesticated animals are, in fact, secret agents for The Agency. They work together covertly, communicating with one another. Their objective is to maintain peace and sanctity of hearth and home.

Arlo is one of the more successful covert operatives who begins to doubt his continued effectiveness, due to having come out on the short end of a confrontation with McTavish, an overweight bully of a Tom cat. In short, Arlo was bitten on the tail.

Mahoney was another operative who – although he spent much of his time sleeping on his back – was himself an ex-alley cat who could make short work of McTavish any time he felt like it. Unfortunately, Agency regulations frowned on engaging non-combatants in any kind of retributive action.

Working in strict secrecy, Mahoney hatched a plan with many of the other animal agents to take McTavish down a couple notches. Chickens, dogs, cats, sparrows, ponies, rodents and others all wanted in on the action, in defense of Arlo’s injured pride… and injured tail. But any covert action against a non-combatant being strictly forbidden, it was necessary to maintain total secrecy, even keeping Arlo in the dark.

In the end, the operation worked flawlessly. McTavish got his comeuppance, Arlo was avenged, and Mahoney was finally able to strike fear into the cold, black heart of McTavish. But again, agency rules required that Arlo never be told of the action in his defense. Looking back at the title of this story, you will be correct in presuming Arlo did figure it out eventually.

This whole tale of the tail was a cute, entertaining and imaginative piece of fiction, suitable for pre-readers through middle graders or even older. I am quite a bit older, yet I am looking forward to reading more about the covert operations of The Agency and its operatives. I recommend that you do the same.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Deb McNally on Dec. 29, 2012 :
Arlo's Epiphany by Jane Oldaker is a cute story about a barncat. In his other life, he is a covert operative. He comes to question his abilities as an operative after an attack by a local bully. What happens next surprises even Arlo.

The author does a fantastic job with the back story and writing from the view of Arlo. A nice short story that can be shared with anyone from 10 to 100. Everyone will get a chuckle out of Arlo's mishaps and the resulting operation.

Disclaimer: This book was received in a LibraryThing member giveaway.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

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