College Station author Kathi Appelt loves cats and stories, and she puts the two together in her latest picture book, Max Attacks (Atheneum, $17.99 hardcover, illustrated by Penelope Dullaghan.)

Appelt, a prolific, prize-winning author of books for young readers and teens as well, features a mischievous cat named Max who likes to attack anything that comes to mind. Sometimes Max attacks successfully; other times, not so. But there’s never a dull moment when Max is on the prowl.

Read more about the author on her website,

Behind the scenes

Scott Pelley, who grew up in Lubbock and studied journalism at Texas Tech, has been with CBS News for 30 years, as a reporter and then anchor for the CBS Evening News and as a correspondent for 60 Minutes.

In his memoir, Truth Worth Telling: A Reporter’s Search for Meaning in the Stories of Our Times, he takes readers behind the scenes of some of the compelling stories he has covered, presidents and other dignitaries he’s interviewed, and a lot of extraordinary ordinary folks he has met along the way (Hanover Square Press, $26.99 hardcover).

Pelley’s first job in journalism was as a “copy boy” for the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal at the age of 15, instead of 16, the minimum age for the newspaper job. “A career in search of truth,” Pelley writes, “began with a lie. I fibbed about my age.”

In college Pelley took to television news, first in Lubbock, then Dallas-Fort Worth, finally to CBS News in 1989 after five years of trying for a position there.

Endangered animals in Texas

Texans on the Brink, edited by Bryan R. Chapman and William I. Lutterschmidt, deals with 88 threatened and endangered animal species in Texas (Texas A&M University Press, $37 hardcover).

Chapman states the book’s theme clearly in his opening chapter on biodiversity: “Every species is worth saving.”

About 40 experts contributed easy-to-read pieces on the various threatened animals, which include the Mexican long-nosed bat, Louisiana black bear, western yellow-billed cuckoo, sea turtles and Houston toad, to name just a few.

“All species play a vital role in their biological communities,” the authors contend, “and the removal of just one can have a noticeable and catastrophic ripple effect.”

Even mosquitoes? So they say. But I don’t think mosquitoes are in any danger of becoming extinct any time soon.

The book is sponsored by the Texas Research Institute for Environmental Studies at Sam Houston State University.

Glenn Dromgoole writes about Texas books and authors. Contact him at

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