A standard book I like to recommend to any student who starts talking to me about cats is Warriors – Into the Wild. It is the first book of MANY in the Warriors series.
I must confess that my knowledge of the book series comes not from reading the books but from my daughter who is a Warriors expert. Here is a photo of her Warriors bookshelves (please note that two books are on loan…she was very upset I took the picture of the set incomplete):
In May my daughter decided that the theme of her 12th birthday was going to be these Warriors books. This meant I was in need and in store for some serious schooling about this series. Since my daughter was born in July we are fortunate to have the time to make her birthday party a grand event we host at our house. Previous book themed parties we have hosted were Skippyjon Jones (7) and Harry Potter (10).
Every party begins with an invitation. We printed the Riverclan Warrior call to meeting on the outside of each invitation. On the inside we ask our guests to pounce on over to celebrate her 12th moon and become a Warrior. The party was to begin at 3pm with pick up at 7pm.
Upon arrival girls met grandma cat at a table and she invited them to choose cat ears, tail, and name prefix…yes, there is an entire naming process in the books. We gave girls a two page list of possible prefix ideas. Once chosen girls worked on a few duct tape crafts including decorating a notebook and making feathers.
Once everyone had chosen a name we wrote them on the back of white Tshirts and had the girls sign each of them with their Prefix. My daughter chose warrior names for her friends but we covered those up with painters tape until the warrior ceremony at the end of the party. Erin Hunter (the author of the series) website has iron on transfers you can download for each of the cat clans (there are 5) so we iron on the Riverclan symbol on the front of each of the shirts.
I learned in the books when cats are born they are given a prefix (such as shade) then the name endings change as they get older. Shadekit would be a cat who is younger than 6 moons (months), then she would become Shadepaw as an apprentice cat, and then at 12 moons she would be given a warrior name.
With all the shirts decorated I called the apprentice ceremony to order. Here is the ceremony from the book:
The Clan Leader calls a Clan Meeting to appoint a new apprentice and assign a mentor to him/her. The following words are used, by tradition:
Leader: (Kit), you have reached the age of six moons, and it is time for you to be apprenticed. From this day on, until you receive your warrior name, you will be known as (new name, ending with ‘paw’). Your mentor will be (name of warrior or medicine cat). I hope (name of warrior or medicine cat) will pass down all he/she knows to you.
The leader calls up the warrior he/she has chosen as a mentor.
Leader: (Warrior), you are ready to take on an apprentice. You had received excellent training from (former mentor), and you have shown yourself to be (quality) and (quality). You will be the mentor of (apprentice), and I expect you to pass on all you know to (apprentice).
The mentor touches noses with the apprentice and the Clan greets the new apprentice by calling out his/her name. After this, the apprentice will usually go greet their family.
During the ceremony each girl was assigned a mentor (an adult) and given her shirt to wear. Girls then read over the warrior code that was printed in their notebook.
The Warrior Code
1. Defend your Clan, even with your life. You may have friendships with cats from the other Clans, but your loyalty must remain to your Clan, as one day you may meet them in battle.
2. Do not hunt or trespass on another Clan’s territory.
3. Elders and kits must be fed before apprentices and warriors. Unless they have permission, apprentices may not eat until they have hunted to feed the elders.
4. Prey is killed only to be eaten. Give thanks to StarClan for its life.
5. A kit must be at least six moons old to become an apprentice.
6. Newly appointed warriors will keep a silent vigil for one night after receiving their
7. A cat cannot be made deputy without having mentored at least one apprentice.
8. The deputy will become Clan leader when the leader dies or retires.
9. After the death or retirement of the deputy, the new deputy must be chosen before moonhigh.
10. A gathering of all four Clans is held at the full moon during a truce that lasts for the night. There shall be no fighting among Clans at this time.
11. Boundaries must be checked and marked daily. Challenge all trespassing cats.
12. No warrior may neglect a kit in pain or in danger, even if that kit is from a different Clan.
13. The word of the Clan leader is the warrior code.
14. An honorable warrior does not need to kill other cats to win his battles, unless they are outside the warrior code or it is necessary for self-defense.
15. A warrior rejects the soft life of a kittypet.
There are 5 different cat clans in the warrior books: ThunderClan, WindClan, RiverClan, ShadowClan, and StarClan. Each clan has different habitats and characteristics. After the Apprentice Ceremony I went over the different clans with the girls and the girls actually took notes in their notebooks on the differences.
Next we went outside to play some RiverClan games! Girls were separated into partners and then two teams. To practice their scent and tracking partners went on a mouse hunt to find Easter Egg mice we hid all over the yard. Next partners were given a paper bag and 15 minutes to find as many items on their list as possible. This was to help them with respecting the environment. Then it was on to battle training. Here girls participated in a variety of water balloon activities. Finally we separated them into two teams and they played a form of capture the flag. Each team hid a colored toy mouse instead of a flag.
The girls were hot after all the outside activities so we moved on to swimming fun! We gave them an hour in the pool to practice their cat swimming skills. Plastic bath toys were lined along the side of the pool and each toy had a number written at the bottom of it. Every 15 minutes I told the girls to grab a toy and if the number I read matched the bottom of their bath toy then they got a small prize.
Next we fed the girls pizza and sang happy birthday! My daughter made and decorated her birthday cake:
For the final event we performed the Warrior Ceremony and revealed each girls final name. Here is the ceremony straight from the books:
Once the mentor is satisfied with the apprentice’s progress and skills, he or she recommends them to the leader of the Clan. Then, the apprentice must pass an assessment, when their abilities as a warrior are checked. In cases when the apprentice has just made an important contribution to the Clan, the leader may decide that there is no need for an assessment. If the Clan Leader is satisfied, he or she calls a Clan Meeting and calls the apprentice. The following words are used, by tradition:
Leader: I, (Leader), leader of (Clan), call upon my warrior ancestors to look down on this apprentice. (He/she) has trained hard to understand the ways of your noble code, and I commend (him/her) to you as a warrior in (his/her) turn.
Leader: (Apprentice), do you promise to uphold the warrior code and to protect and defend your Clan, even at the cost of your life?
Apprentice: I do.
Leader: Then by the powers of StarClan, I give you your warrior name. (Apprentice), from this moment you will be known as (new warrior name). StarClan honors your (virtues), and we welcome you as a full warrior of (Clan).
The leader rests his or her muzzle on the apprentice’s head, and he or she licks the leader’s shoulder. the rest of the Clan then greets the new warrior by calling him or her by their new name. The warrior will sit a silent vigil guarding the camp that night.
And here I am trying to figure it all out so I can lead the ceremony (I am still an apprentice):
In the end it was another great party! Several girls left loaning books from my daughter to read. I certainly know more about the series and will continue to recommend the books to kids. I find 5th graders seem to like them the best but more advanced 3rd and 4th grade readers enjoy them too. My daughter learned about them in 3rd grade and read 3 of them then, she read a few more in 5th grade, and finished the entire series in 6th grade. There is also a series about dogs (Survivors) and bears (Seekers) but I am told they are not as good or as many.