Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Cool Cat versus Top Dog by Mike Yamada (Frances Lincoln Children's Books)

Bruised, battered, stomped, muddy - Another book fell foul of a careless courier but thankfully was just about in a fit state to read and review. Thankfully because it's a rather splendid book at that. Mike Yamada's awesome "Cool Cat Versus Top Dog"
Back in the day, I used to love watching cheesy old Hanna Barbera cartoons, and my particular two favourites were "Whacky Races" and "Stop that Pigeon" purely because week in, week out you'd get to see a bunch of crazy characters zooming around in a vast variety of crazy machines both on and off the road.

We both also love videogames where you get to tootle around in ludicrous vehicles, and let's not forget that brilliant scene in Wreck-It Ralph when all the Sugar Rush racers line up in their oh-so-sweet vehicles.

So naturally any book that features a frenetic race, a pair of wily characters and a couple of crazy racecars will instantly attract our attention.

"Cool Cat Versus Top Dog" is just such a book, and Mike Yamada is the sort of artist I'd give my left earlobe to be able to draw and paint like. The age-old rivalry between canine and feline breaks out into a wholly original and fun story where the two main protagonists compete every year for a rather special reward - their name on a huge shiny trophy as winner of that year's annual Pet Quest race.

All year long, Cat and Dog have been working on their racers - with more than a few sneaky cheaty tricks up their sleeves. Both are determined, tenacious and downright underhand and will stop at nothing to see their name etched on the trophy.

We laughed out loud at some of the ways Cat and Dog have modded their racers to scupper the competition. Cat knows that a bone-thrower will put a spoke in Dog's wheels, while Dog comes up with an utterly (and quite literally) filthy trick to drop a little present right in cat's path.

As the race reaches a climax, with a Bunny racer also horning in on the Cat and Dog showdown, will the two mortal enemies find an unlikely friendship after a nasty accident writes off both their racers?

This book nips along at a nifty pace, and Mike's glorious cartoony artwork is chock full of character and detail (he's definitely worth following on Twitter too - @michaelyamada). Just what you'd expect from a production designer at Disney!

He's a great storyteller too though, and the eternal conflict between cat and dog is always a rich source of hilarity and fun, so we'd definitely recommend you take a peek at this great little book!

Charlotte's best bit: Cat is very thoughtful - there's no WAY she's going to let Dog get away with leaving poop on the sidewalk!

Daddy's favourite bit: A pacy and brilliantly funny story underpinning inventive and fabulous art, with a really broad appeal across age groups and gender. Definitely recommended!

(Kindly sent to us for review by Frances Lincoln Children's Books)

"Cool Cat Versus Top Dog"

Written and Illustrated by Mike Yamada

Published by Frances Lincoln Children's Books

Publication Date (Hardback): 3rd March 2016

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