Author: Nick Bruel
Year Published: 2011
Number in Series: Bad Kitty Series #4
Recommended Age: 7+
Child Rating: ★★★★☆
Grown-up Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Reviewed by: Renee and Danielle (Mother and Daughter)
Summary (from Amazon):
“Kitty’s owners are home with a big surprise for Kitty. But what is it? Kitty, reeling in horror, thinks it’s a . . . dog. The neighbor cats are convinced it’s a cat. But we all know that it’s really a BABY!
With Nick Bruel’s trademark mix of antic humor (this time involving a Kitty game show and the Kitty Olympics—which the baby wins hands down), riotous illustrations, total mayhem, and Uncle Murray Fun Facts, this may be the funniest Kitty book yet, and the one that hits closest to home.”
What it’s about: The book starts with Uncle Murray coming to babysit Kitty. Kitty guts stuck in a tree and Uncle Murray calls the fire department. Then Kitty, the dog, Uncle Murray, and a refrigerator all get stuck in a tree. The next day, there is a surprise for Kitty. Kitty doesn’t know what it is at first so she makes up a talk show. Kitty then thinks it’s another dog so she doesn’t like it. Kitty’s cat friends come over to see the new “dog” and they like her. They think it’s a cat and they want to prove it to Kitty by doing the Pussy Cat Olympics. The baby is good at the Pussy Cat Olympics and wins every event. Kitty is a bad loser and tries to get rid of the baby. Kitty learns that the baby was adopted, just like her and puppy, so then she likes the baby and treats her like her kitty sister.
What I liked and disliked about it: I liked the book because it’s funny. I liked the “baby talk” like ‘Ba!’, ‘Lo’, ‘Eeeee!’, ‘Ooooo!’, ‘Gabba Gabba Blup Blup Wheeee!’ It was funny when Kitty picked up baby and tried to put her in the litter box after she accepted her in the house. My favourite event in the Pussy Cat Olympics was the “Babbling-on-an-on-without-stopping” event because the baby said ‘Ba!’ all the way to alien land. I didn’t like the kitty “swearing”. The characters in the book are really funny. Kitty is a bad kitty who was mean to the baby at first but then she learned her lesson and then she was a good kitty.
My bottom line: I liked this book and would recommend it to my friends (both boys and girls).
What it’s about: This book is really about adoption and might I say that I don’t particularly care for the way it was handled. So the book begins with Kitty being all alone – and HAPPY (so the book goes). Then, along comes Puppy and Kitty’s world is rocked (not in a good way). Eventually Kitty gets used to Puppy and life becomes good (sort of) again. THEN, along comes “the baby”, which Kitty, upon observing its main characteristics, initially mistakes for a dog. Suffice it to say, Kitty is most displeased with the new addition to the household. The neighbourhood cats are called in to assist in the situation and are immediately smitten with what they perceive to be the new “cat”. To settle the issue, the Pussy Cat Olympics (including events such as the aforementioned “babbling”, “stare-at-yourself-in-a-mirror-until-you-get-bored”, “who-can-create-the-biggest-stink”) are hosted in the household, with Baby winning all the events, including defeating Kitty in the eating contest, long held by Kitty herself. When Kitty learns that Baby, Puppy, and Kitty are all adopted, she does a complete about-face and begins to treat Baby as her beloved little sister, providing some of the funniest parts of the book, including putting Baby in the kitty litter and protecting her from getting a bath.
What I liked and disliked about it: Can I just begin by saying that I’m not a big fan of graphic novels? This book uses a combination of text and cartoon-like graphics with speech bubbles. I find it very distracting (especially when graphics are used to represent “swearing”). It also leaves little to the imagination. However, that’s just my position, if it gets kids picking up and reading books, then by all means that seems a better alternative to not reading anything at all. After all, I did grow up with comic books (and novels) and I think I turned out ok.
This book provides some comical moments. For example, Chapter 2 is entitled What the Heck is That Thing? Sorry, but if you heard that coming out of my five year-old’s mouth on a regular basis the way we do around here – – well…we think it’s pretty funny. There were even funny moments in the Pussy Cat Olympics, but mostly it’s comical in a “burps and farts are funny” kind of way. There really isn’t much of a story here. Adoption is framed mostly as something negative from the perspective of “siblings” even if the last chapter is about acceptance. She really is a very bad kitty. Oh, and who leaves a baby unsupervised amongst all these pets? Ok, ok, I know…suspension of disbelief; apparently I need to work on that!
My bottom line: The Bad Kitty series is really about the outrageousness and the “flash”, and I prefer books that rely on a good solid story with strong, likeable main characters. Well, that’s just me – do we really need to give our kids new ideas for how they can misbehave (without any consequences)? Also, because this is a graphic novel, I did find it very difficult to read to my 5-year old, so I would say it’s only appropriate for kids that can read independently – although my son enjoyed looking at the pictures (of course!)
One final comment about the physical copy of the book in our hands: we’ve only read the book twice and already there is a page coming out of the binding. These are children’s books – they get handled that way and should be able to sustain some damage. I’m a bit irritated and disappointed by this.
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