A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Readers of the Warriors series mainly encounter fictional cats and their fantastical world, but they may learn a little about forest creatures and gain a general understanding that some types of forest plants are safe and enjoyable to eat (catnip), some are poisonous, and still others have medicinal properties. Kids (possibly with some guidance) may also be able to draw parallels between the different cat clans and human cultural differences that they've studied or observed. For example, the Riverclan cats learn to catch and eat fish because they live near water, the same way some human cultures rely on the sea for their livelihood.
The cat characters in the Warriors series devote considerable effort to preventing war between clans. The books generally suggest that war is destructive to society. Issues between the different cat clans also illustrate the damage caused by baseless prejudice.
Positive Role Models
Characters such as Firepaw (who later becomes Fireheart and then Firestar) and Graypaw (later Graystripe) set a nice example by helping cats in other clans accomplish tasks that their clans weren't trained to do. For example, Greystripe and Fireheart hunt for food for the cats in Riverclan when the fish supply is poisoned. Firepaw and Graypaw are also among the most vocal in opposing war.
Violence & Scariness
Cats engage in battles and wars, fighting with claws and teeth. Some cats are left wounded and bleeding; some die. These books are appropriate for a middle-grade audience, but some sensitive children -- especially major cat lovers -- might find the books too violent or sad.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
There are romantic relationships and attraction between cats, such as Firestar and Sandstorm; cats display affection by licking (not in a sexual way) and admiring each other, but there's no explicit sex. Kittens are born, but conception is never witnessed or explained.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the original series of Warriors books, first published in 2003, has grown to spawn four spin-off series of novels (The New Prophecy, Power of Three, Omen of the Stars and Dawn of the Clans), as well as other limited series and one-offs. If your child is into these books, they offer years' worth of reading to enjoy. All of the books take place in a world of cat characters that belong to different "clans" that have different talents, abilities, and loyalties. Parallels can be drawn between the clans (which think and feel like humans) and human cultures, making these books an excellent point of departure for discussion about cultural differences and prejudice. Cats engage in wars and battles, fought with claws and teeth, in which some characters are wounded or killed. There are descriptions of cuts and injuries that are tempered for middle-graders, but some sensitive cat lovers could find them too scary. It should also be noted that this series walks a line between opposing war and using violent battle to engage the reader.
Is It Any Good?
The extensive Warriors series of fantasy books provide almost limitless entertainment for middle graders. While the writing is not of the highest literary standard, the characters are engaging, the cat world is well realized, and the situations are compelling. Like many of the best book series for this age group, the novels include strong male and female characters, and storylines designed to appeal boys and girls. Also, the situations involving cross-communication and relationships between members of different clans create a made-to-order opportunity to speak with kids about cultural differences and prejudice.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.