Crime takes a back seat to craft in Cat Kid’s series debut.
Cat Kid, aka Li’l Petey, steps out of his Dog Man sidekick role as president of the titular comic club, with psychokinetic tadpole Molly as vice-president, her 21 baby-frog siblings as members, and their dad, Flippy the fish, as anxious arbiter of literary excellence. Readers new to the Pilkeyverse will be won over by its genial looniness as Li’l Petey works valiantly to teach his club members how to make comics. When Melvin’s first effort, Dennis the Toothbrush Who Wanted To Be a Dinosaur Lawyer, is judged “dumb” (it is a tad thin on plot), Li’l Petey and Molly encourage all the froglets to get over their fears by failing utterly: “Worst comic gets a prize!” yells Molly. Flippy wrings his bionic claws at the results, pronouncing them “violent,” “disgusting,” and “offensive”; The Cute, Little Fluffy Cloud of Death has Flippy calling in the medical authorities. Fortunately, Nurse Lady talks some sense into him (“Look at Shakespeare: It’s all DEATH and VIOLENCE and FART JOKES!…Take a chill pill, dude”), and the club continues, producing a legal drama, a startlingly beautiful sequence of nature photos and haiku, and sneak peeks at a buddy story, a biography, an apocalyptic thriller, and a superhero adventure. Few are “wholesome,” but all are believably childlike. Pilkey effectively mixes instruction and empowerment into the chaos, the frenetic panels (with Garibaldi contributing colors) making both immensely enjoyable.
(Graphic fiction. 8-12)
Pub Date: today
Page Count: 176
Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2020
Kirkus Reviews Issue: today