A print rendition of Barker’s 1988 Oscar-nominated short film.
The plotline follows the general drift of the classic song—with some embroidery—but the cartoon illustrations are just stills or details from the film, and the lyrics (originally sung in an altered and abbreviated version) are switched out for sound effects in display type and a prosaic narrative: “BUT the cat came back the very next day. How did the little yellow cat make it all the way back to his house?” Readers familiar with the song will find themselves beginning to sing, only to be caught up short time and again. The goings-on are comical enough, if cartoonishly violent (“Old Mr. Johnson” ultimately blows himself up, along with the house and cat…only to find nine kitties with little wings trailing along as he flies up to heaven), but much of the animated film’s frenetic pacing and hilarious side action are lost in this static format.
Stick with older, sing-along versions and enjoy the cartoon (for free) online. (Picture book. 5-7)