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Simon Ships Out A heroic cat at sea. Based on a true story

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  346 ratings  ·  54 reviews
When Simon, a mischievous young cat, is smuggled on board HMS Amethyst, his simple life amidst the streets of Hong Kong is transformed into an adventure fit for heroes.

But alongside new friend Peggy, the ship’s dog, he discovers a mortal enemy in king rat Mao Tse Tung.

Under heavy fire from the Chinese Communists, the ship runs aground, stranded for 101 agonising days. De
Kindle Edition, 323 pages
Published October 2014
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Average rating 4.10  · 
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Start your review of Simon Ships Out A heroic cat at sea. Based on a true story
Richard Buro
The short version first...

We have all read stories, seen movies, or heard tales about animals. Simon Ships Out: How one brave, stray cat became a worldwide hero by Jacky Donovan is another animal story, but this one is a true account of a cat who was cute but who also turned out to be brave and resilient in the face of battle where death, injury, and mayhem were the order of the day. In fact, this particular cat, Simon by name, proved to be so brave in the course of the battle that he was awarde
Jan 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I enjoy historical books and I love cats so this was most definitely a book for me. The book is deeply moving, all the more so, as it is based on actual events. The story is skilfully told from Simon’s perspective and draws the reader into the cat’s view of the world on board the Amethyst. We see Simon’s character develop and grow. I particularly liked his enduring friendship with Peggy, the ship’s dog, who became his partner in crime. He endears himself to the sailors on the Amethyst who enjoy ...more
Feb 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A Very Special Cat

Simon was a stray cat in Hong Kong when a sailor found him and brought him aboard the HMS Amethyst. What follows are his adventures in his own words when the ship was attacked by Communist. The ship was stranded for months and bravely does his part in fighting the enemy. He kills off all the rats on the ship and gives moral support to the sailors. Finally the ship was able to escape the Communists and sails back to England. Unfortunately Simon never fully recovered from the att
Mar 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle-freebies
A telling of the HMS Amethyst's involvement in the Yangtze Incident in 1949 through the eyes of a black and white cat named Simon. Simon has many adventures with his friend Peggy the dog, earning themselves awards for bravery. have your Kleenex handy though.

Simon is very literal, and is often confused by words and sayings that Peggy seems to understand, which was a good representation of the relationship differences between cats and dogs and humans, I thought. Seriously though, have your tissue
Beth Haslam
Jul 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I have wanted this book for ages because I love reading about the adventures and escapades of animals. In that respect ‘Simon Ships Out’ looked perfect for me, and it was. But there were two other aspects about it that I especially enjoyed. First because it is a story closely based on historical fact, and second because it is told through Simon himself, the feline protagonist who becomes a ship’s cat – and a real life hero.

I thought Jacky Donovan’s interpretation of the behaviours, thoughts and
Caryl Williams
Nov 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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This review is from: Simon Ships Out: A heroic cat at sea: Based on a true story (Kindle Edition)
This is a great read for cat lovers young and old. I enjoyed reading this imaginitive narrative, written from the viewpoint of a cat. Not just any old cat but Simon the morale-boosting ship's cat on board the HMS Amethyst during WW2. Simon PDSA Dickin Medal, the equivalent of the animals’ Victoria Cross, and became the first and only cat to have been given such a decoration. B
Aug 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kobo-read, challenges
A wonderful true story about Simon, a heroic little cat who was found by a sailor and smuggled aboard a ship, The Amethyst, that was seeing active duty. While under heavy fire from the communist Chinese, the ship ran aground and was stranded for 101 days.

The story is told from the perspective of the cat and you really feel that you are right there on the ship right along with him.

This is a good and descriptive story of a battleship at war and a wonderful story for cat lovers. Highly recommended.
Terry Bryan
Nov 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Simon Ships Out interested me in that it is about a real cat, not a make-believe one, even though he talks and thinks like a human. I was interested in the World War II story and the involvement of the cat and a dog on a ship. I will admit it took me a page or two to get into the story, but quickly became involved, as it is well written and well researched. It is most enjoyable, offering laughter, tears, and learning.
Linda Hawkswell
May 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
A beautiful moving true story

Based on a true story this is written from Simon´s view point and even though this happened a long time ago it is a lovely tribute to such a brave little cat. It is astounding to hear how a stray cat can put his fears to one side and face the War and all that comes his way. He is the only cat to ever win a Medal for Animal Bravery. From the very beginning this had me drawn into this little cat´s world and yes I shed a few tears.

After his arch enemy Chairman killed h
Lisa Wright
Sep 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Animals have long played a crucial role in the armed forces. Some have even been awarded medals for bravery because, as the PDSA’s Dickin medal cites, ‘we also serve’. Amongst those honoured have been dogs, horses, carrier pigeons, and cats. Or, specifically, one very special cat. Able Seacat Simon is the only feline to have been thus honoured by receiving the illustrious Dickin medal.
This delightful ‘memoir’, Simon Ships Out, tells Simon’s story from a cat’s eye view. At first I found reading t
Jun 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Like Simon I want to talk about the good in the bad or the bad in the good. So here goes with the bad: I'm "the sensitive viewer" and for me there was too much death, hurt, pain, terror but it must be there because this is a war time tale. And Donovan, being an excellent storyteller, makes it all so real that I really battled through. I will admit I did sometimes skip sections to avoid the horrible.
There is loads and loads of good. I just love Simon's voice and vocab. Donovan get 100% for that.
Penny Ogram
May 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A must read!

I loved this story! Lots of highs and lows, a wonderful true story everyone should read. You really feel as though you are in Simons world following him in his journey. A sad and unexpected ending but lovely to see his memory lives on.
Janetta Bitting
Jun 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A true story of courage

I had doubts about the book. As I read and reviewed the footnotes, the power of this story became apparent. The power of animals to help humans is well documented. Truly this is a most inspiring read.
Ruth Dresher-Brown
Feb 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This author captured my imagination and support when I read another of her books "Smart As A Whip", (read my review, the book was excellent). So I was fortunate to get this book in our "We Love Memoirs" Facebook group. At first I had no idea of the contents except it was based on a true story and it was written in the voice and view of Simon himself. It only took me a page or two to catch his way of thinking and expressing himself. His phrasing is exceptionally precious. He's quite young when we ...more
Penny Ogram
May 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Everyone should read this true story of a truly heroic cat. You are taken on his journey through his eyes and experience all his hopes and fears. I am so glad I read this story.
Jun 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Amazing story with an unusual narrative from a cats perspective. Loved it really moving and informative
Mary Ellen
Nov 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction-read
Very interesting story intriguingly told by the cat.
Mal Harris
Jun 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Quiet naive cat, then BAM! all hell let's loose. Stirring, emoting, rewarding. A truly inspirational book and a great read.
Mar 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Can't say much

I didn't read the book. In fact I had hardly started it when I quit. I'm not a fan of books written in first person and this book was a cat in first person. For me - impossible.
Mike Cavanagh
Aug 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I’m not one who reads animal perspective stories as a genre. It’s not a type of story to everyone’s liking. Occasional above the run-of-the-mill tales I’ve found well worth the read: Watership Down, Wind In The Willows, among a small number over the decades. What I loathe are Disney-fied depictions – except where the audience is clearly children, but even then I feel that the telling often sells children short. So I approached ‘Simon Ships Out’ with reserve. Without giving any spoilers away, it ...more
Aug 09, 2015 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Sailors
Recommended to Darlene by: OHFB
It hasn't been that long ago that I got a phone call while I was at my writers' meeting that my Panda, a beautiful tuxedo cat, had passed away while playing with his cat mate. Must have been a heart attack, we had decided, but we miss him lots. So when I saw the cover of this book with a near twin to Panda, I had to pick it up. It didn't hurt that it was free. (Now it is $3.99)

What a great way to teach a historical event, through the eyes of the cat, and sometimes the dog. These two pets are on
Aug 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Freebie Kindle download from Bookbub. Told from the point of view of a seafaring cat, based on the story of a real cat who was part of a ship's crew.
* * * * *
Surprisingly, this was not a silly little cat book. Author Jacky Donovan told, through the eyes of a cat who actually lived and was part of the crew of British ship HMS Amethyst, the story of their crew's attack by Chinese Communists during the Chinese Civil War between the Nationalists and the Communists in the late 1940s. There were over
Sep 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Simon, "Able Seacat," really existed. He served aboard the HMS Amethyst during the Yangtze Incident in 1949 during the Chinese Civil War. Because of Simon's actions he was awarded the PDSA's Dickin Medal (the "Animal Victoria Cross"). This book gets across the story, makes you care about the cat, and has footnotes to document the facts. Simon is an interesting character, raising morale of the crew and killing the rats that were infesting the ship.

The only downside was the overly cute language th
Suzanne K Howell
Oct 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Touching, original, emotional , not my usual genre

I really can't say WHY I chose this story, I guess it was the same curiosity that made me read "Hitty, her first 100 years" as a child: this was the 'life story's of a doll.
Simon had a viewpoint and lifted a life from a special point of view. It relates the cares and concerns of daily life in unsettled times and locations. The dialogue speaks with the innocence of a cat and his best friends, one of whom lived with him on ship caught in wartime C
Pat Ellis
Mar 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I highly recommend this book by Jacky Donovan. The Author has cleverly written through the eye's of Simon the Cat and his friend Peggy. This moving story will captivate you whether you are or are not a cat lover / do or do not have an interest in the Navy - It's a throughly enjoyable moving story. Based on a true story taking you from Hong Kong where Simon lived to his 'adventures' both humorous & remarkable - heartbreaking & heartwarming on the HMS Amethyst whilst it sailed toward, was caught u ...more
E.J. Bauer
May 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I have shared much of my life with a black and white cat and often wondered what was going on in his head - what thoughts were bouncing around. I have a much better idea since meeting Simon. This meticulously researched book introduces us to Simon the tuxedo cat and his dog friend Peggy as they relate their extraordinary adventures aboard HMS Amethyst in 1949. Fanciful musings and cat interpretations of life on board ship are skillfully balanced against the dreadful events of the Yangtze Inciden ...more
Francene Stanley
Aug 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Ah … this story has it all—wonderful characters, emotion, and a unique viewpoint. I bonded with the young cat straight away, saw through his innocent eyes, felt his joy and his pain. In every episode of his life, I learned his lessons, chuckled at the funny assumptions he made with the intricacies of the English language, and cheered him on when he tried to be brave.
It's a rarity to learn about a distant conflict in our history through the perspective of a cat.
Feb 02, 2016 rated it liked it
When Simon, a mischievous young cat, is smuggled on board HMS Amethyst, his simple life amidst the streets of Hong Kong is transformed into an adventure fit for heroes. Bringing joy and compassion to those on board, Simon is the only cat to have been awarded the PDSA Dickin Medal, the highest honour for animal gallantry in wartime. A very cute novel that is a true story. Amazing that a cat can live through all his trials and tribulations. 9 Lives for sure.
Nov 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What a lovely story - well written from the point of view of the cat. It's intriguing because I have often wondered whether my cat thinks about things and this make me chuckle because I could just imagine him have these conversations with himself and other cats.

Based on a true story it was fun, extremely moving and heart wrenching in places. If you are a cat lover then you really should read this book because it will bring you to tears at the end.
ChaCha Ala Mode
Based on truish facts this story is from a Cat's viewpoint. Give this alleycat a dog for a guide, rats as his job, a ship as his home and humans who may or may not like him as his companions and you have an adventure upon the high seas! Be prepared to cry often in this story. Well worth the tears.
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Jacky Donovan might not have nine lives, but she does have a few. Bored with being a 'Stepford' housewife in Southampton, Jacky packed her bags and headed to London then Gran Canaria over a decade ago. She's now an established memoir author and, more importantly, curious about heroic pets. Her latest books, "Simon Ships Out" and "Smoky" -- the memoirs of the world's first celebrity cat and dog res ...more

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