Monday 11 March 2013

Backstage Cat by Harriet Ziefert and Jenni Desmond (Blue Apple Books)

Oooh now here's a real treat! We absolutely loved Jenni Desmond's feline debut with "Red Cat, Blue Cat" and I remember spotting an early mysterious mention of "Backstage Cat" back when we were reviewing the book and interviewing the lovely Jenni.

Now the mystery is revealed, and in this collaboration with children's book superstar Harriet Ziefert, once again we have completely fallen in love with Simon, the slightly naughty but supercool moggy in this book.

A theatrical superstar goes everywhere with her beloved cat, and usually he's quite content to be pampered in the dressing room while his mistress sings for her supper on stage.

However, one day when the door's left open a tiny crack, Simon ventures out into the world backstage. It's a world unlike any other, full of odd sights and sounds (and probably smells) and Simon is very intrigued.

But things get a lot more interesting when Simon spots something that really shouldn't be there. A mouse, scurrying amongst the scenery.

Chaos ensues as Simon begins to chase the mouse, not just backstage but on stage too! Can Simon steal the limelight and what will his owner (not to mention all the stage hands) say!

Harriet Ziefert's entertaining story gives Jenni Desmond plenty of scope for doing something she is an absolute expert at - conveying the sense of busy chaotic and frenetic action that takes place when cats start to misbehave. It's also an interesting insight into the inner workings of a theatre production as we get to find out that the star isn't the only person involved.

An utterly beautiful book combining Ziefert's concise and expert observations with Desmond's utterly beautiful illustrative style.

Charlotte's best bit: Simon getting an enormous cuddle (and his expression!)

Daddy's favourite bit: Such a frenetic pace, I almost imagine Jenni scribbling away furiously as she visited theatres to start the sketches for this. Love Ziefert's storytelling style too. A winning combination of talent and a superb book, don't miss out on opening night!

(Kindly sent to us for review by Mat Archer / Blue Apple Books)