Atticus Claw Learns to Draw by Jennifer Gray

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Atticus Claw Learns to Draw by Jennifer Gray

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: The fifth in this series only shows more wacky exuberance, as the novelty crimes still keep on coming.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 224 Date: November 2014
Publisher: Faber and Faber
ISBN: 9780571305339

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Who knew how much trouble a rainy day could bring? When nothing else inspires them, children Michael and Callie and police cat sergeant Atticus all enter a draw-some-pickles competition, for the chance to win a trip to, er, the pickle factory. Atticus has been around a bit – he used to be the world's best cat burglar – and he seems to recognise one of the faces on the pickle jars as an old enemy, but at least the main baddies of the series – the Russian spy mistress and her cat, and the town magpies – are miles away and tucked up safely inside a giant shark. So lo and behold when Atticus's entry wins, and the whole family gets taken to the factory. And lo and behold when the factory owner seems rather suspicious, and lo and behold when a certain shark gets captured…

The rhyming dictionary that seems to have inspired the titles of this series shows no signs of giving up yet, and neither does the sheer bravura exuberance of the books. For a long time it's a bit much to say that Atticus has learnt to draw, but the cat is a very intelligent one – he even wonders if he could manage being Prime Minister at one point – and he certainly does dabble in art. A lot of the adventure here revolves around modern art, which is a good educative side to proceedings. But a heck of a lot of the book is just fun.

From the name of the new baddie – Ricardo Butteredsconi – right on up to the whole escapade, the book has a lively, cartoonish sensibility. And while Atticus – and some of the human characters as well, to be fair – is an island of intelligent calm in the manic action, there is a lot of drama to be getting on with. While the series started with a more placid, English personality – a retired cat-burglar on the side of good against one town's thieving magpies – it has evolved in a pleasant way to be something much greater, with amusing side characters, a devil-may-care attitude to making plots make much sense, and a wide-screen sensibility, making the franchise one to turn to again and again. And as there're hints of more to come, that's only a good thing. This title is pretty much self-contained, and it should be a hit for anyone who is, or has been, ten years old.

I must thank the publishers for my review copy.

The author also has this series ongoing for younger readers, as well as one more starting with Danger in the Deep Dark Woods. If it's dogs not cats you want to read about, then we loved The Hero Pup by Megan Rix.

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Buy Atticus Claw Learns to Draw by Jennifer Gray at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Atticus Claw Learns to Draw by Jennifer Gray at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Atticus Claw Learns to Draw by Jennifer Gray at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Atticus Claw Learns to Draw by Jennifer Gray at


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