A purrfect caper for a not-too-criminal kitty

ATTICUS CLAW BREAKS THE LAW

From the Atticus Claw series

A real cat burglar—literally—stars in this British import.

A mysterious job offer takes Atticus, a brown tabby cat with a talent for theft, to an English seaside town. There, he learns that some crafty magpies want to hire him to steal all the town’s jewelry. Magpies being notoriously deceitful, Atticus is suspicious, but the promise of sardines as payment wins him over. In Littleton-on-Sea, not a notably diverse town, he finds a home with the family of a police detective, the Cheddars, and gets to burgling. The more he steals, the more the family’s dad gets to work, so Atticus thinks he’s doing the Cheddars a favor. However, when Inspector Cheddar gets in trouble because he can’t solve the recent crime wave, Atticus decides to turn the tables on the magpies. Meanwhile the Cheddar children begin to notice some interesting things about Atticus. Can they convince their dad when they tell him who's behind the burglaries? And can they do it before the magpies raid the local fair? Gray endows Atticus with such a confident personality that readers will be sure he’ll solve everything, but she includes some nice suspense later in the story when things go drastically wrong. Kids who like a bit of light crime fiction will certainly enjoy it, but readers who love animals, especially cats, will be purring throughout.

A purrfect caper for a not-too-criminal kitty . (Fantasy/mystery. 7-9)

Pub Date: July 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-571-28449-8

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Faber & Faber

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2016

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A nifty high-seas caper for chapter-book readers with a love of adventure and a yearning for treasure.

THE PIRATE PIG

It’s not truffles but doubloons that tickle this porcine wayfarer’s fancy.

Funke and Meyer make another foray into chapter-book fare after Emma and the Blue Genie (2014). Here, mariner Stout Sam and deckhand Pip eke out a comfortable existence on Butterfly Island ferrying cargo to and fro. Life is good, but it takes an unexpected turn when a barrel washes ashore containing a pig with a skull-and-crossbones pendant around her neck. It soon becomes clear that this little piggy, dubbed Julie, has the ability to sniff out treasure—lots of it—in the sea. The duo is pleased with her skills, but pride goeth before the hog. Stout Sam hands out some baubles to the local children, and his largess attracts the unwanted attention of Barracuda Bill and his nasty minions. Now they’ve pignapped Julie, and it’s up to the intrepid sailors to save the porker and their own bacon. The succinct word count meets the needs of kids looking for early adventure fare. The tale is slight, bouncy, and amusing, though Julie is never the piratical buccaneer the book’s cover seems to suggest. Meanwhile, Meyer’s cheery watercolors are as comfortable diagramming the different parts of a pirate vessel as they are rendering the dread pirate captain himself.

A nifty high-seas caper for chapter-book readers with a love of adventure and a yearning for treasure. (Adventure. 7-9)

Pub Date: June 23, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-37544-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2015

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This high-wattage debut is a little rough around the edges, but there’s nary a dull moment.

CAT DAD, KING OF THE GOBLINS

A pair of sisters and a froggy sidekick go up against a horde of fungal jungle dwellers in this frantically paced Canadian import.

When Mom transforms Dad into a cat, 10-year-old Luey, her leggy green friend, Phil, and little sister Miri chase him through a closet door and down a jungle path into a maze of tunnels. They manage to rescue their errant parent from the maroon-colored, cat-worshiping goblins that had overrun the garden. (They are not the “mythological” sort, explains Wilson, but sentient mushrooms dressed in towels.) The three put most of their pursuers to flight by rubbing Dad’s fur the wrong way to turn him into a raving, furry maniac (the rest flee at the closet door, screaming “IT’S THE MOM CREATURE! RETREAT!!”). Captured in multiple, sometimes overly small panels of garishly colored cartoon art, the action—not to mention the internal logic—is sometimes hard to follow. Still, dragging along their timorous but canny buddy, the dark-skinned, big-haired sisters dash into danger with commendable vim, and readers will cheer when they come out triumphant on the other side.

This high-wattage debut is a little rough around the edges, but there’s nary a dull moment. (afterword) (Graphic fantasy. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-927668-11-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Koyama Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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