Friday, July 6, 2012

Happiness is...a good book (Summer Reading edition #10)

Miss Annie: Rooftop Cat
Author: Frank LeGall
Illustrator: Flore Balthazar (Coloring by Robin Doo)
Published: 2012
Pages: 40
Age Range: 6-9
Genre: Graphic Novel/Fiction
Cover Score: **
Overall Score: *
Rating: PG
First Sentence: At night, all cats are gray.

I’m pretty easy to please. I’m not generally a harsh critic. If a book has one redeeming quality that wins me over I’ll often overlook or even forget about the otherwise glaring flaws. Wish I could say that about this book.

Originally published in France this is the story of Miss Annie, a cat who finds new freedom when her owners install a kitty door. She’s anxious to venture outside but her friend Keisha the mouse is worried Annie will find mice outside and eat them. (And Miss Annie confesses she might not be able to help herself.)

In three short chapters we follow her on her nightly adventures where she meets up with two older cats, gets into fights with some mean alley cats (where one of her friends dies), and she ends up saving the life of a little mouse who wanders into the middle of the scuffle.

Back at home she overhears her owners talking about the operation that will keep her from getting into trouble when they put her out at night and she must fend off the attention of various cats who yowl at her as she walks the streets at night. She brings home the rescued mouse and he and her friend Keisha get married and proceed to have a little of babies. The older girl in the family talks to boys, the human mom is knitting tiny socks, and Annie starts going out at night to meet another cat, Alexander.

That’s it. And it’s not told in much more detail than that. Even though it’s a short graphic novel and took me all of about 10 minutes to read I was completely bored! Add to it that the underlying theme of the story seems to be sex and babies and it all feels a bit heavy-handed when the target audience is only about 6. (Maybe it’s a French thing?)

The dialogue is stilted and awkward that can possibly be blamed on poor translation and there is a lot of mean name calling and degrading comments from both the animals and the humans. Even the artwork was just sort of blah. Overall? Boring!! Not recommended.  (Though you don't have to take my word as law.  The customer reviews on Amazon both gave it 5 stars!)

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