Some Cats Got Talent (2014); those that do return to “get famous.”
Feline friends Hal, Dora, and Geneva still enjoy singing on the fence in the alley, but the surrounding humans don’t enjoy the ruckus. One of those humans, impresario Lekvar Smirk, thinks he can exploit the trio, so he catnaps them and forces them to audition for the TV show Animal Idol. Lekvar then sabotages their competition, and Hal, Dora, and Geneva win a pile of cash. Excited to spend their cash, the cats leave Lekvar behind. Hal opens a restaurant, Dora opens a fashion boutique, and Geneva makes movies. All three fulfill lifelong dreams, but they miss one another and the alley. They return to their favorite performance space and now please their human audience with lullabies. Barrett’s retro–Sunday funnies illustrations have a great look, but the tale they help tell is full of non sequiturs and disconnects. Lekvar’s quick capitulation after all his planning and experience exploiting animals makes no sense. The cats casually abandon their dreams-come-true for nostalgia and, strangely, add lullabies to a repertoire they were well-satisfied with. Lekvar’s last-page comeuppance could not feel more tacked-on. Barrett’s past successes have been in bringing the words of others to life; sticking with that talent in future might be best.
There are plenty of pussycat picture books to pick from; let this one stray. (Picture book. 3-7)