Monday, June 16, 2014

Miss Annie - Rooftop Cat by Frank Le Gal, Flore Balthazar and Robin Doo (Lerner)


Miss Annie - Rooftop Cat

Written by Frank Le Gal and Flore Balthazar

Illustrated by Robin Doo

Published by Lerner / Graphic Universe

Our local library has an absolutely brilliant comic section for younger kids. When Charlotte visited with her mum recently (which really felt weird - me not being there for the library trawl!) I knew Charlotte would find some treasures in that section. She most certainly did, as she came home with something I hadn't seen before.

Introducing Miss Annie, a kitten who is the star of a series of graphic novels. "Miss Annie - Rooftop Cat" is Part 2 of the series (sadly it looks like Part 1 was out on loan) but like all good kids comics, the reader isn't punished by coming in part-way through the series (grown-up comics take note!)

Detailing the adventures of Miss Annie, her best friend Keisha (a mouse with possibly the coolest mouse name ever), and two other cats including the wise elderly Zeno. The stories are interesting and detailed, the artwork is sublime - but here's the thing that might get a few victorian parents up in arms - it certainly doesn't pull any punches in the subjects it deals with, but there's really nothing too rude or gross in there that would be wholly unsuitable for a 6-7 year old, and 8-9 year olds will probably just sigh and tell you that they know all about moggy mating rituals already because they've learned all about them in school.

When Annie's 'parents' (her human owners) install a cat flap for her, it opens up a whole world of nocturnal adventure for Miss Annie. Young and naive, she soon finds that cat life out on the rooftops and in the alleys isn't always easy. Fights over territory, and a whole lot of icky 'grown up' business to do with having kittens and 'getting fixed' all sound completely weird (and more than a little grim) to a young kitten's tender ears.

Thankfully Annie has lots of other cats looking out for her, and Zeno's wisdom is imparted firmly but kindly.

Reading other reviews of the series, it seems that book 1 was slightly less grown up so it might be worth hunting out "Miss Annie - Freedom" first. This is worth having a read through first before you let your children loose on it, but it is fantastic - and if you're used to European comics that don't treat kids like dribbling little babies, this will definitely impress you.

Charlotte's best bit: Miss Annie attempting to jump through a locked catflap. Owch!

Daddy's Favourite bit: There is a lot of wry humour in here that will sail straight over children's heads but adults will snicker and snort at!

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