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Katniss the Cattail: An Unauthorized Guide to Names and Symbols in Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games
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Katniss the Cattail: An Unauthorized Guide to Names and Symbols in Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games

3.52  ·  Rating Details ·  324 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
Who was Cinna? What do the hawthorn and primrose symbolize? Or President Snow's roses and Peeta's bread? What about Katniss's last name? Bringing details from myths, herbal guides, military histories, and the classics, English professor and award-winning pop culture author Valerie Estelle Frankel sheds light on the deeper meanings behind Panem's heroes and villains in this ...more
Paperback, first, 104 pages
Published February 13th 2012 (first published February 7th 2012)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Alanna (The Flashlight Reader)
When I originally finished The Hunger Games trilogy, I had mixed feelings. I was a little disgruntled by the quick wrap up in Mockingjay. But now, after reading Katniss the Cattail by Valerie E. Frankel, I realize how brilliant Suzanne Collins really is. Oh. My. Goodness.
If you are a fan of The Hunger Games, you owe it to yourself to get a copy of Katniss the Cattail. Why, you ask? The answer is simple. This book explains the symbolism throughout the series. Sure, you may think you have already
Sarah's Reviews
Mar 01, 2012 Sarah's Reviews rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2012
Full of thought provoking observations, Katniss the Cattail is a quick, clean read for any fan of The Hunger Games trilogy. It provides the historical and scientific background of the names of people, places, and symbols in the series as well as their links to other well know literature (Plato, Shakespeare, etc...). Frankel also provides some very interesting and convincing speculations as to the relationship between the names and the messages of the story itself.

Readers who have not read the en
Michelle Book Briefs
Apr 08, 2012 Michelle Book Briefs rated it really liked it
Shelves: review-on-blog, own
If you are a die hard fan of the Hunger Games series like me and enjoy reading any extra knowledge on the characters just to feel more connected to the story then you will enjoy this book. Katniss the Cattail goes into depth explaining the history and meaning behind each character from all three of the books within the series. It also mentions why some of the symbols used within the series hold such meaning and importance to the characters.

Focusing on the three main characters, or ‘The Big Th
Paula  Phillips
Mar 07, 2012 Paula Phillips rated it it was amazing
Are you a Hunger Games fan ? Holding the edge of your seat as the Hunger Game movie's release dates comes closer and closer with only just over two weeks to go :). I so cannot wait, I think for myself I have to explain my experience with the Hunger Games as I was introduced to them a few years ago with the release of the very first book "The Hunger Games" , I saw it coming and going from work and I thought hmmmm... I'll have to read that, so I picked it up and found that no matter how hard I tri ...more
Cheryl C.
Mar 23, 2012 Cheryl C. rated it it was amazing
Katniss the Cattail provides fans of Suzanne Collins's series a detailed look into the names and symbols found in all three books: The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Mockingjay.

From Alma Coin to York, from bows and arrows to Snake, and a thorough discussion of Katniss, Peeta and Gale, this book provides historical and literary background information on everyone and everything you could imagine from the books. Civil War admirals, Roman leaders, Persian kings and those made famous by Shakespeare's p
James M. Madsen, M.D.
This "unauthorized guide" presents glosses on the names used in the Hunger Games series. There are etymologies of the nature names from the districts and histories of the Romans whose names characters from the Capitol held. The connections between the word histories and the stories are sometimes eye-opening even if sometimes a bit of a stretch. A quick but enjoyable read!
Oct 12, 2013 Kelly rated it really liked it
The Cliffs Notes to Symbolism in THG

“As long as you can find yourself, you’ll never starve.”

Names carry great significance in The Hunger Games trilogy. Residents of the Capitol and its favored districts are commonly given Roman names (Cato, Cinna, Plutarch, Enobaria), establishing a parallel with the rise and fall of a brutal empire, while those living in the districts are named after food (Katniss, Peeta), plants (Rue, Prim, Posy), and other natural forces (Gale, Annie Cresta), as well as their
Feb 03, 2013 Kait rated it it was ok
I'm confused as to why this book has so many sparkling reviews. As far as the world of companion books go, it's really amateur and half-hearted.

Basically, this book is a long blog post, tiny photos with captions and an abundance of minor spelling errors included. I realize my blog suffers from the same issues, but then again, I'm not trying to sell that material to anyone.

A large portion of the analysis is taken from previously published, well-known Hunger Games companion authors, such as V. Arr
Mar 11, 2012 Nafiza rated it liked it
This slim volume dedicates itself to finding out the history behind the names of the characters in The Hunger Games. I don’t know whether Suzanne Collins named her characters consciously trying to speak through the symbols etc but the names do give credence to many of the characters in both their personalities and their actions.

Katniss the Cattail is more on the academic side than not and that’s why I judged it as a scholarly piece of writing and not one for entertainment. However, it educates a
Jun 17, 2012 TC rated it liked it
Something of a typical literary critique, this book collects thoughts from other critics, interview with the original author, and general knowledge of literature and history to draw meanings from the names of characters in the book and the symbols found throughout (bread, roses, etc). It also draws parallels to both ancient civilizations and some issues of today, though some of those will already be obvious (we of course understand that the Capitol was inspired by ancient Rome, for example).

Well I just tried to start this book, but realized that perhaps I am best to wait until after I read the rest of the trilogy. It references many things from the series and I have not read book two or three and do not want to spoil the stories. So for now this book will wait, but as soon as I finish the series I will be diving right into this again.

It is filled with tons of information like the meanings behind the names of the characters and places and the symbolism of plants, items and people. L
Mar 22, 2012 Ally rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
(From my blog, Word Vagabond: Supporting Independent and Small Press authors.)

English professor and pop-culture author Valerie Frankel delves into the symbolism, history, and mythology behind the popular Hunger Games series.

The largest part of this book is an examination of the names of the significant characters in all three of the Hunger Games books, listed in alphabetical order. Following that, Frankel explains the meaning of the main symbols in the series and then examines its themes. The in
Jen Vance
Nov 27, 2014 Jen Vance rated it liked it
Shelves: hunger-games
Though this was thought provoking I feel as it could have had more depth especially with the longer entries. Some of the shorter entries should have been thought out more. All in all, I enjoyed it though it could use more details for me. Looking forward to reading her other book about the development of Katniss as a character.
Justine Oh
Jan 11, 2015 Justine Oh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
it is a good enough read but I don't agree with with classification of districts.
Jul 11, 2012 Hannah rated it did not like it
Okay, first of all katniss is not a cattail. They are two completely different plants. The author even shows a picture of katniss and describes it exactly but keeps referring to it as cattail... I don't think she knows what a cattail is... Other than the plant references, I'm assuming everything else is correct. However, on some pages it simply stated who the character was without even explaining the name.. why include it, then? The historical stuff was interesting, I'll give her that, but soooo ...more
Nov 10, 2015 Lauren rated it really liked it
This unauthorized guide is full of fascinating details that (a) you'll wish you had been clever enough to figure out for yourself while reading The Hunger Games and (b) you hope Suzanne Collins really meant to convey with her story. This little booklet is worth the read because whether or not everything listed here was directly intended by the author, it cannot be denied that there are layers of rich historical and moral symbolism in The Hunger Games trilogy that are certainly worth thinking abo ...more
Apr 10, 2012 Becky rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: People who loved the Hunger Games
Katniss the Cattail was very well researched. Everything that Valerie found about the names and symbols through research was pinpoint correct and matched the characters personalities and how things were supposed to appear in the book. I learned a lot from it and learned possible new insights on what Collins meant when she had certain things happen in The Hunger Games. If you are not a devote, crazy, obsessed fan of The Hunger Games then unfortunately this guide is not for you.
Mar 23, 2012 Donna rated it really liked it
Katniss the Cattail is a reference guide to wildly popular Hunger Games trilogy. (by Suzanne Collins) The author gives an encyclopedic style listing of the meanings of the characters names, plants, place names... All pertinent information from the book is listed in this short book. I'm not certain if Ms. Collins meant her books to be over analyzed, but many of the names fit the personalities of the characters.
If you are a Hunger Games lover, this book is a fantastic reference.
Oct 22, 2013 Cecile rated it it was ok
I always love having new info on my favorite books, but this guide came a bit short. Not developed enough, lacking some pretty obvious symbolism and worst of all got Prim's name origin completely wrong. She's named after the evening Primrose not the other one. So all that part was wrong. If you're going to write a book about it, get your facts straight, lady, please.

I think I'm going to check out more serious analysis and symbolism HG books from now on.
Apr 19, 2012 Karen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reference, e-book
The book gives an in-depth look at the themes and symbolism through the series. Although it is unauthorized, this is a great reference for students to use when studying the books in school or the rest of us who want to understand them. I advise reading this as a companion to the series or after you have read all three books. I got a greater understanding after reading this and confirmed some of my thoughts on links to 1984, Brave new world and Lord of the flies.
Jane Buchbauer
Jul 02, 2013 Jane Buchbauer rated it really liked it
I am always fascinated by the thought that goes into the naming of characters and symbolisms behind those names in books that refer to classic and mythical literature. For the readers of The Hunger Games this book is an excellent explanation of just those characteristics. I would recommend it if you are interested in the 'rest of the story'.
Old Salt
Dec 11, 2015 Old Salt is currently reading it
Shelves: no-interest
I have stop reading it, sometime ago. Since it really is a reference book and not a novel. Don't know why I even started, anyway it is a good book for what it is. Find info about people and symbols for the story. Nice to have when watching the movies on NetFlix, stop the movie and look what you want to find in the book.
Ryan Michael
Apr 08, 2012 Ryan Michael rated it it was ok
A new side of the the series. Definitely makes you wonder if Suzanne Collins did it on purpose or if it was all just a coincidence. If your a Hunger Games fanatic, a good view on the topic, if your grasping for more. Two ** Stars.
Apr 19, 2012 Jen rated it really liked it
REALLY interesting analysis on The Hunger Games series on the meanings and importance of the characters' names and other symbols that appear throughout the series. Very interesting read for any HG fan
Just wanted the Hunger Games to carry on. Interesting insight into the background to the trilogy.
Nov 25, 2012 Jennifer rated it it was ok
Somewhat interesting, but rather amateurish overall.
Mar 22, 2012 Cheryl marked it as to-read
The Hunger Games AHHHH
harry marked it as to-read
Sep 27, 2016
Christina Kirkpatrick
Christina Kirkpatrick marked it as to-read
Sep 17, 2016
Christina Powers
Christina Powers rated it it was amazing
Sep 16, 2016
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Valerie Estelle Frankel is the author of 30 books on pop culture, including Doctor Who - The What, Where, and How, History, Sherlock: Every Canon Reference You May Have Missed in BBC's Series 1-3, Homages and the Highlands: An Outlander Guide, and How Game of Thrones Will End. Many of her books focus on women’s roles in fiction, from her heroine’s journey guides From Girl to Goddess and Buffy and ...more
More about Valerie Estelle Frankel...

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