THE FAT CATS, COUSIN SCRAGGS AND THE MONSTER MICE by Barbara Shook Hazen

THE FAT CATS, COUSIN SCRAGGS AND THE MONSTER MICE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This plug for the simple life is so outrageously overdone--by the author of other excesses, the illustrator of A Snake Is Totally Tail--that it can't be taken seriously as satire; but it does allow for some harmless/toothless laughs at our penchant for mechanical devices, from kitchen appliances to computers and electronic games. The fat-cat family, we're told (in one of Hazen's typically arch turns-of-phrase), ""had everything to make them happy, which was the one thing they weren't."" Enter, then, into this overstocked, dissatisfied household, Cousin Scraggs--in overalls and bandanna, ""with only his wits and his whiskers and five generations of fleas."" Before being admitted, Cousin Scraggs is processed (a mildly amusing sequence): ""debugged, bathed, and given a brand-new hermetically sealed set of sang-clothes."" He takes some brief pleasure in the unaccustomed plenty, then grows fat and decamps--only to be reminded of why he came: monster mice (a nightmare-apparition) are ""chewing and chomping the very foundation of the fat cats' house."" Cousin Scraggs rescues the inhabitants, urging them to abandon everything but their ""wits and their whiskers""; and when last seen, the once-fat cats are dwelling in ""a small but cozy cottage"" they've built themselves. ""Now that they had nothing to make them happy,"" the text simpers, ""they made their own happiness."" Nobody's going to turn off the TV for this vision of bucolic bliss; more likely, kids will thank their lucky stars it's only a story. The rats tearing down the house though, are something to see.

Pub Date: March 12th, 1985
Publisher: Atheneum