Fortified with the public-service experience he’s garnered from solving 21 mysteries among his human companions (The Big Cat Nap, 2012, etc.), Sneaky Pie Brown throws his hat into the presidential ring in a tale with no mystery and very few people.
When you think about it, it’s not so crazy after all. Cats don’t lie or take campaign donations that might warp their judgment; they’re not irresponsible or illogical; they don’t waste time on computers and cellphones; and they think about sex only when they’re in heat. Plus, Sneaky Pie lives in Virginia, that cradle of presidents. So it makes a certain amount of sense when he informs his housemates—fat gray cat Pewter, corgi Tee Tucker and Jack Russell terrier Tally—that he intends to run for president. “I want to represent us, the other citizens of America,” he tells the birds, whose support he solicits before moving on to canvass the mice at Monticello, the horses kept by his human—whom he calls C.O., for Can Opener—and the bats in her basement. Although Sneaky Pie’s odyssey ends before the election, even before he has to choose a running mate, his platform is straightforward: full salaries, medical benefits and pensions for animals in the military service; a close review of the government’s policy of reintroducing predators to landscapes that can no longer sustain both them and their prey; an end to the overpopulation and industrial pollution that threaten food and water supplies; and new initiatives aimed at promoting greater harmony among the Earth’s creatures.
Not especially funny as whimsy, no match for Animal Farm as political satire, and a mite overlong, like most speeches. You’ll have to go to Sneaky Pie’s real-life website, www.catprez.com, for the campaign slogan that makes the perfect punch line: “I can’t do any worse.”