Does ninja cat Timmy have what it takes to save the city’s children?
In a steampunk-y town peopled by humans and anthropomorphic animals, orphan cat Timmy and his ragtag group of animal friends find their newest invention stolen by the mean Gribbles, a gang of warthog cousins. Timmy’s about to give up when he meets magical human toymaker Alfred, who gifts Timmy and his friends with everything they need to become ninja crime fighters. With the help of a kitty girl pilot named Flores, the friends uncover the evil plot of the Blue Rabbit, an early creation of Alfred’s that’s turned bad. He’s stealing the laughter of children all over town in hopes of making himself a soul. When Flores is kidnapped, the animal friends spring into action to save the day. Swedish-American artist and designer Tamm’s painterly, full-color illustrations are eye-catching if a bit stiff, though Flores’ exaggerated eyelashes are disappointingly stereotypical. And unfortunately, his prose is twee, clumsy, and full of clichés. In this haphazard tale, underdeveloped characters are given the tools they need to succeed, but they aren’t given the chance thanks to deus ex toymaker. Fortunately, the type is big, the pages are thick, and the illustrations are many, so the book may well draw readers.
More empty calories than full-bodied treat. (Fantasy. 7-9)