Frankenstein's Cat by Curtis Jobling

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Frankenstein's Cat by Curtis Jobling

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Magda Healey
Reviewed by Magda Healey
Summary: Very funny, merciless spoof of the classic gothic tale, cut for a younger audience, with hilarious artwork, but not for the sensitive or particularly inquiring children.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Maybe
Pages: 32 Date: October 2007
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
ISBN: 978-0340969960

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Frankenstein's Cat charts the hilariously sad life story of the title cat, a forgotten pre-Monster experiment of the demonic Doc Frank. Smelly and rather clumsy (obviously - with four different legs), the Cat staggers around the castle trying to find somebody to play with and make friends. Children reject him because of the smell, the butler gives up on his help after a number of fragile items get broken, and when the Cat goes back to the doctor and requests a friend, Frankenstein makes a dog, called Fifi, but not exactly a cuddly ball of fur.

I found Frankenstein's Cat very funny - laugh out loud funny - and I am not a fan of gothic novels , gothic novel-spoofs, the original story nor any of its serious or funny retellings.

The pictures are suitably garish, merciless cartoony caricatures without being gory or sickening (in fact, the uncoordinated pieces the Cat and Fifi are made of suggest cuddly toys rather than dead animals) and the story is in the classic tradition of spoof of the Frankenstein tale

However, and this is a large however, my daughter, who is 6 years old - borderline for the picture book readers' demographics - was slightly disturbed by it. Not by the book itself, really, but by the underlying (and totally novel to her - I do wonder how many 4, 5 or 6 year olds actually know about Frankenstein's monster?) idea of making a living thing again out of dead bodies stitched together. The caricature artwork and the humour of the story worked, and she giggled when Fifi the dog appeared; but we spent a while afterwards discussing the idea and I had to reassure her several times that such things were not really possible. I also had a distinctive feeling that she felt that it wasn't really fair to take a rather ruthless mickey out of creature that was already extremely disadvantaged by its appearance, clumsiness and smell and simply wanted to make friends.

Do use your own judgement and the knowledge of your child. I would say that the book is suitable for 6-7 year olds and older, though the picture format suggests a younger age.

Thanks to the publisher for sending this volume to the Bookbag.

Children up to the age of about six who like stories about cats will almost certainly love Mog the Forgetful Cat by Judith Kerr.

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