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by Julia King

Pub Date: May 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-0983982708
Publisher: King

A cat named Bingo searches for adventure and finds a lesson in self-discovery—as well as a new friend—in King’s thoughtful picture book.

The story begins with Bingo introducing himself as an explorer who is searching for a way to repair a tiny, rusted car so that he can drive it around the farm that he lives on and, presumably, get into some mischief. Bright photographs of Bingo, a real cat with gray stripes, climbing all over the cat-sized car fill the pages as we see Bingo unsuccessfully inspect the engine, steering wheel and gas pedal. Just as Bingo’s chance at adventure seems to diminish, his best friend Jimmy, a yellowish-orange cat, reluctantly agrees to try and get the car started. But Jimmy wants to be in charge, and he snaps at Bingo for getting in the way. Rather than fight, Bingo abandons the car and explores the farm on his own. He wanders into an empty barn and has a look around, trying to figure out what sorts of animals live there by examining the clues left behind. Young readers will have fun helping Bingo decipher the clues, and they’ll probably relate to how Bingo feels when he finally gets a close-up view of the horses who live in the barn. Bingo likes the sweet smell of the horses, and the long whiskers on their noses, but their enormous heads block out the sun, making him feel tiny. The photos emphasize the size difference and give readers a cat’s-eye view of the enormous animals. Just as Bingo begins to worry that the horses may harm him, he hears a familiar voice calling; it’s the little boy who lives on the farm and, like Bingo, he’s looking for a playmate. The boy knows just what kind of adventure Bingo has been looking for, and Bingo realizes that a true friend isn’t someone who bosses you around or who makes you feel small. King’s universal message comes through in the numerous photos, showing Jimmy snapping at Bingo, Bingo’s hair standing up when he realizes how powerful the horses are and, at the end, the boy gently petting Bingo. Curious readers will enjoy the extras at the end that invite them to go back and take a closer look at hidden details in the photos. 

Bingo leads young readers on a farm adventure that does not disappoint.