A simple and appealing story for newly emerging readers. It’s particularly purr-fect for cat lovers.
When Harry started to chase colourful balls of wool all around the lounge, he didn’t expect to end up with his tail tangled in thick green yarn. And he certainly didn’t have any idea that Aunt Tilda would be so angry that she would lock him out all night! He’s used to spending every night curled up on Jessica’s bed. Now, suddenly, he’s out in the cold and it’s more than a bit frightening. Luckily, he meets up with two other cats from Canterbury Close, Cleo and Fluffy. They’ve formed a ‘Bad Cat Club’ and invite Harry to join. Harry’s not sure. He’d much rather return to the safety of Jessica’s bedroom. Cleo and Fluffy offer to help him break back into the house but things don’t go exactly to plan. Like it or not, Harry suddenly finds himself on a midnight adventure.
This is a simple and appealing story for newly emerging readers. On the surface the three cats fit classic stereotypes – Harry is home loving and rather nervous, Fluffy is clumsy, constantly hungry and more than a little overweight, while Cleo is much more streetwise. Beneath this, however, each cat is given a depth that takes them beyond a simple stereotype including a clear, and in one case complex, backstory. I particularly liked the way that Cleo presents herself as a rebel (the founder of the ‘Bad Cat Club’) while we quickly learn she has a much softer side and her ‘bad cat’ status is largely because she is forced to stay out every night and is lonely.
As the plot unfolds, we also learn more details of Cleo’s history and it’s more than a little intriguing that she knows the fearsome leader of the ‘Crooked Lane Cats’ – One-Eyed Pud. (Given this is the first book in what is set to become a series, I can’t help hoping that one of the stories explores this relationship). The plot itself is relatively simple, pitched at just the right level for emerging readers. There’s enough action to keep a young reader interested while ensuring the story mains clear and easy to follow.
The story is accompanied by truly lovely black and white illustrations by Chantal Bourgonje. The personality of each cat shines through and the expressions on their faces are seriously impressive. For example, I just loved the confusion on Harry’s face on the picture at the start of chapter one – he looks totally nonplussed as two hands thrust him through the door and drop him outside.
If you enjoyed this, you can sign up for a free short story via the author’s website. That way you’ll also be one of the first to hear of new books as they are released. If you’re keen to read another cat story by a different author, I particularly enjoyed The Homeless Kitten by Holly Webb.
Date: September 2018
Publisher: Catherine Flann