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From the Cat's Cradle series, volume 1

by Jo Rioux & illustrated by Jo Rioux

Age Range: 10 - 12

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-55453-636-8
Publisher: Kids Can

A would-be tamer of monsters hooks up with a diminutive would-be monster in this auspicious series opener.

As advertised, the supposed dragon tooth that parentless young storyteller Suri buys from a scruffy market vendor does indeed bring her luck—of both kinds. On the one hand, the ball of magical golden string that she finds in the road belongs to a trio of vicious tiger creatures called “caitsiths” who use the string to masquerade as humans and really, really want it back. On the other, Suri achieves her avowed desire to become a monster tamer when she meets Byron, a humongous if overly friendly dog, and the surly 500-year-old imp Caglio who (through not-yet-explained means) created him. Large of hair and fierce of scowl, Suri dashes through Rioux’s character-centered, cleanly drawn panels like a force of nature, evading the clutches of pursuers (or, sometimes, not) and bouncing back resiliently from every reverse. After several narrow squeaks, the author sends her on her way, dog and imp in tow, in search of more monsters and unmindful of a band of pursuers coming up close behind. Stay tuned.

Action-packed, easy to follow and featuring a cast of monsters inimical and otherwise, along with a winningly intrepid heroine. (Graphic fantasy. 10-12)