Squishy McFluff: the Invisible Cat! by Pip Jones
|Squishy McFluff: the Invisible Cat! by Pip Jones|
|Category: Children's Rhymes and Verse|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: Perfectly snappy rhymes for the young, with a girl and her imaginary feline friend causing mischief. I do think the adult might be needed to put two and two together at times, however.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 80||Date: February 2014|
|Publisher: Faber and Faber|
Meet Ava. She's a girl of great imagination and a big heart, who brings an invisible cat home to mum one day, who humours Ava by feeding it invisible food and letting the two bond. But when mess gets made, and mistakes about the house happen, Ava declares innocence, and blames it all on the cat – and you'd be surprised how many accidents can be the result of having an invisible kitten indoors…
Because this book is definitely pitched at the under-sevens (and the adults buying and reading for them) I do have to ask myself how easily they'd work out the moral of the story – that Ava is purely blaming all the mishaps she causes on an imaginary feline friend. Adult commentary might be needed, to show the solid mog in the pictures is as Ava sees it, the semi-transparent version is from mum's point of view. I guess the problem lies in the target audience being aligned with Ava, for whom the cat isn't invisible – just imaginary. Would the young audience know the difference?
Beyond that, the verse certainly seems rock solid enough to have passed any amount of test readings. Only once is there a lapse in the excellent rhythm, and the rhyming scheme is great for the young. Similarly, the artistry is spot on – Squishy looks as cute as could be, and the design of the book, in just blue and red and black and white, is lively and characterful, and is neither too old-fashioned nor too contemporary (the odd high-five aside).
If anything I was more puzzled by events in the last third of the book. First, the big weird thing, that works as the crux of the story as far as mum's concerned – what's that all about? Secondly, the advert for the next book in the cycle. Clearly that means this is more or less a scene-setter – an advert itself for more books where it is perfectly and permanently evident than Ava is a naughty pest and her non-existent pet is the innocent one. Oddly, I think the knowledge that this is just to open us into the idea of more books in the same ilk excuses some of the problems I have with it, and this volume will appear to be better in the light of more ones to come. As a result I welcome those, even if for various reasons this one isn't quite as charming, clever and recommendable on its own as it might be,
I must thank the publishers for my review copy.
For a different girl with a habit of getting into mischief, the same audience should enjoy Maya Makes a Mess by Rutu Modan.
You can read more book reviews or buy Squishy McFluff: the Invisible Cat! by Pip Jones at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Squishy McFluff: the Invisible Cat! by Pip Jones at Amazon.com.
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