By Dustin Cabeal
Having said this numerous times before I’m constantly forced to remind the audience of this site that I will read anything. I have read things that I have zero interest in and come away loving them and sometimes hating them still. The point being that for me to read a kid’s book isn’t uncommon even if this is your first time spotting one of them on the site. I’m telling you all this because I do tend to have a soft spot for them. Maybe it’s a misspent youth full of video games and TV, but I didn’t read a lot of books when I was a child, nor did my parents supply me with many. Whatever the reason, I enjoy checking them out.
Archie Snufflekins Oliver Valentine Cupcake Tiberius Cat caught my attention because of the title. And the cat. I have two cats. I’ve had them so long that I don’t remember what clean shirts look like, and while they wear on my nerve most days from being trapped in the same small space together, I do love the furry little such and suchs. This book seemed custom written for me.
Unfortunately, the premise is extremely simple and takes most of the book to establish it. Then the ending is rushed and overly straightforward and happy. I’m not against a happy ending; this is a kids book after all, but I didn’t see the point to the story based on the conclusion. I’m going to spoil it for you because it’s not a brain buster or anything.
The cat has different names from different people because it visits everyone on the block. Except for one lonely older woman. Eventually, he does visit her and doesn’t leave. Everyone begins looking for their cat; they figure out they’re looking for the same cat, and they find it at her house. They then decide to visit her and the cat. The end.
The point is to keep old people company I suppose. I know it’s more than that, but it could just be that because the story isn’t deep and concludes as quickly as it begins. It was a cute idea, but perhaps it needed to brew more so that the ending would be more rewarding. I can’t see wanting to read this story over and over to a kid because when you know the outcome, that’s it. A successful kids book is written with the anticipation of being read to death and that wouldn’t happen here.
The art is enjoyable. It relies on side profiles a bit too much, but it has this very English style to it that matches the setting. The colors are water colored and look lovely. In fact, the coloring is what gives the art it’s distinction.
Some kid out there might want to read this book over and over again. I can tell you as a parent, I wouldn’t know why or want to be the person that is forced to do that because at the end of the day it was sadly a boring story. Everything you think would happen after reading the first sentence, does happen. If there’s a follow-up, maybe it’ll bring something new to the table or at least something entertaining.
Archie Snufflekins Oliver Valentine Cupcake Tiberius Cat
Creator: Katie Harnett
Publisher: Flying Eye Books