Posted in Fiction, Fiction, Humor, Intermediate, Middle Grade

Ophelia’s back and fabulous in the latest Snazzy Cat Caper

The Fast and the Furriest (Snazzy Cat Capers #2), by Deanna Kent/Illustrated by Neil Hooson, (Sept. 2019, Imprint), $13.99, ISBN: 978-1-250-14347-1

Ages 7-11

The Diva herself, Ophelia von Hairball V of Burglaria is back in her second caper, and I could not be happier! I loved the first book, and her sophomore outing is just as much fun and just as light-hearted. The queen of all cat burglars is still working with her long-suffering (senior) inventor, Oscar Fishgerald Gold, and his robot dog creation, P.U.G. In this new adventure, there’s trouble at the Furry Feline Burglary Institute (FFBI): someone has stolen an artifact from the Institute’s vault, and it could lead to disaster for the FFBI and for felines WORLDWIDE. It takes a thief to catch a thief, so Ophelia’s assigned to the case – but those mutts at the Central Canine Intelligence Agency (CCIA) are hot on her tail, and she’s going to need every trick in her marvelous designer bag to stay one fluffy tail ahead of them, not to mention all the brainpower Oscar has to design new gadgets and costumes for her every step of the way.

The Fast and the Furriest captures all the fun of the first book in the series, introduces a new mystery, and keeps some hilarious subplots going. Ophelia still has her long-simmering feud/competition with her unibrowed cousin, Pierre; she still really, REALLY wants to work alone, but Oscar finds a way to sneak on board – and thank goodness for it; and the dogs at the CCIA will stop at nothing to try and subjugate all of felinekind. The black and white graphic novel panels add directly to the story, breaking up the chunks of text and keeping kids on their toes, switching from text to graphics, and keeping them engaged and reading. In addition to the graphic novel panels, there are black and white illustrations, and each chapter begins, once again, with sage advice from Ophelia, which everyone needs to read and heed. She could write her own Little Instruction Book, in all honesty: “Be the fabulous you want to see in the world”; “Not everyone will adore what you do. That’s purr-fectly fine. Do what makes you feel shiny”; and “Don’t bother ‘overcoming’ your obstacles. Stomp them into fine dust, add glitz, and use as party confetti” are words I need to live by, and, quite frankly, I think the kids in my library do, too. I may have to start printing these up on colorful paper and hanging them up in the kids’ room.

In short, I’m fangirling hard for this intermediate/middle grade series, because we all need to lighten up and enjoy the finer things in life, just like Ophelia. Snazzy Cat Capers: The Fast and the Furriest will be on shelves in September, and what a way to welcome kids back to school.

Posted in Adventure, Animal Fiction, Fantasy, Fiction, Fiction, Intermediate, Middle Grade

Snazzy Cat Capers introduces a new super team-up!

Snazzy Cat Capers, by Deanna Kent/Illustrated by Neil Hooson, (Sept. 2018, Imprint Reads), $13.99, ISBN: 978-1-250-14343-3

Ages 7-10

Ophelia von Hairball V is the world’s greatest cat burglar; she’s a celebrity among her peers at the FFBI (Furry Feline Burglary Institute), the bane of the Central Canine Intelligence Agency (CCIA), and the envy of her cousin and FELLOW FFBI cat burglar, Pierre. Her next challenge: steal a rare Himalayan diamond from the Belle Mew-seum in Paris for the FFBI’s Annual Purr-fect Heist Competition! There’s only one hairball: Oscar Fishgerald Gold. He’s the newest in a series of inventors the FFBI wants Ophelia to work with, but Ophelia is a one-feline show. Oscar is persistent, though, and finagles his way onto the mission. Can this cat-and-fish combo snag the diamond and win the top spot again? Will the CCIA finally catch up to Ophelia? Or will Ophelia’s scheming cousin, Pierre, outsmart Ophelia and win the diamond and the top spot for himself?

Snazzy Cat Capers is the first in a fun new intermediate/middle grade series, and it is too much fun. Ophelia von Hairball V is a fabulous diva with an eye for the good life, and even though she’s a thief, she’s not all bad: the FFBI just encourages cat burglary to keep their skills sharp; the heisted goods are always returned. Eventually. There are black and white graphic novel panels and artwork throughout the story, breaking up the narrative by communicating a chunk of story visually and giving reluctant readers a nice bridge into linear reading. Oscar is a sweet, smart sidekick who won’t give up his chance to be taken seriously – he’s kind of like James Bond’s Q. Every chapter starts off with a life quote from Ophelia that provides some wink-nudge insight into her divahood: “You can’t possibly be your best if you haven’t had a manicure. Or if you’re a dog”; “They say humility is the key. Thankfully, I can pick any lock”; “When all hope seems lost, check the last handbag you used. It might still be there”. There are a lot of laughs, some fun action and adventure, and a whodunit showdown that kids will love. The next installment is out next year, so talk this one up and get your readers on board. And show them some Kim Possible – not an animal show (except for the naked mole rat, Rufus), but still fun to watch. Booktalk and display with Jonathan Bernstein’s Bridget Wilder trilogy or Stuart Gibbs’ Spy School series.