PUSSERINA THE WONDERCAT by Kenneth B. Melvin

PUSSERINA THE WONDERCAT

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A debut collection of poetry celebrates cats.

Melvin writes in the voice of Pusserina, his pet cat who is fated to express herself in verse. The title of the collection comes from recounted dreams in which she imagines herself to be a superhero. Many poems follow simple rhyme schemes and feature a singsong quality. “I’m a Cat,” for instance, sounds like an imitation of Dr. Seuss. There are also several limericks that do not quite fit into the traditional syllabic pattern of that literary form. Thus, readers might want to skim past the extremely short poems, such as this virtual throwaway titled “Tuxedo Cat”: “For a tuxedo cat, black and white / Is normal / I like this cat, for he / Is very formal.” While the upbeat poems are aimed at all feline lovers, their length, vocabulary, and subject matter seem especially suited to children. But there are assuredly some bright spots to be found for readers of all ages, like “The Door,” where Pusserina’s hesitation about going out or coming in takes on a deeper, pensive meaning, as suggested by the poem’s circular structure. Overall, the longer texts communicate more substantive stories through verse, such as “Haunted House,” a meditation on grief with an uplifting conclusion that supports the unique bond between cats and humans. Similarly, the author strongly refutes the stereotypes of felines as aloof and disinterested with an ode to Tara, a real-life superhero made famous in a viral video that showed her thwarting a dog’s attack on her 4-year-old human companion. Along the way, Melvin and Pusserina enthusiastically remark on various playthings: Easter eggs, Thanksgiving treats, Christmas trees, and piano keys. They also weigh in on issues like hairballs, paper versus plastic, the preponderance of feline names for sports teams, and negative representations of cats in cartoons, namely Sylvester and Tom. The handsome book features colorful illustrations by Albrecht (No, No, Sammy!, 2013) as well as quotations from prominent cat lovers, including Leonardo, Twain, Shakespeare, Hugo, and Kipling.

Lighthearted poems for readers who adore felines.

Pub Date: Aug. 15th, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-63393-351-4
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: northwood lake books
Program: Kirkus Indie
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