Hamweenie the marmalade cat makes good on his desire to escape the confines of his everyday life.
Not much has changed in this follow-up to Bowman’s earlier, decidedly quirky depiction of this pampered yet disaffected pet in The Amazing Hamweenie (2012). Muted colors, odd angles, and just slightly off-brand names crowd the pen-and-ink–and-watercolor illustrations, while the deadpan narration once again slyly contradicts the action shown. Hamweenie’s outsized ego finds him daydreaming of stardom while he’s standing in his litter box in the closet. Meanwhile, his actual existence is almost as far-fetched as his imaginary adventures. He claims to follow “a strict diet” but is shown gorging on pizza, fast food, and sweet snacks. A circus poster on the refrigerator door prompts him to action, and he handily escapes down the laundry chute and out through a basement window. A quick (if unlikely) bus ride later, Hamweenie arrives at the Darnum and Dailey circus, where he (mis)interprets every encounter as a reflection of his talent and star status. Narrowly escaping being eaten by a variety of animals, he’s nonetheless nonplussed to be scooped up and toted back home. The only thing that’s changed from the first outing is the setting.
His owner’s gift of a top hat and cape that exactly match the ones he’s lost along the way gives the narrative a circular feel that seems quite fitting for this repetitive outing. (Picture book. 4-7)