Picture Book Snob
The cat may be bad, but the book is brilliant!
Bad Cat! by Nicola O'Byrne, Nosy Crow
What's it about?
This wonderful book introduces Fluffykins, a deceptively cute-looking kitty with an appetite for destruction. Fluffykins ignores his owner's various warnings and requests, wreaking havoc and hilarity wherever he goes. Readers are hooked from the beginning as they are always one step ahead of the narrator, and can guess what Fluffykins is about to do next. Fluffykins actually reminds me of a tabby cat we had when I was growing up, who went by the incredibly original name of "Kitty." She wasn't ginger but was just as stripy and furry, and although her appearance suggested cuddliness, her attitude and behaviour was anything but!
What makes this stand out? This is a fabulously theatrical story that is brought to life by being read aloud. It's a fantastic example of the magic of picture books - it would not work in any other format. It's just so much fun and the illustrations are fabulous.
About those illustrations...
They're extremely animated, amusing and full of personality. Fluffykin's character is expressed entirely through the images and he is brilliantly brought to life. He looks so real and his fur looks so soft and fluffy, you can see why he's called Fluffykins. I'd love to reach inside the book and pet him, but suspect he would scratch me! I love how the jacket and endpapers are cleverly designed to show the extent of Fluffykin's mischief and how it even affects them. On the cover, we see Fluffykins nonchalantly reach for the letter "a" in the word "bad" while staring at the reader. The same "a" is missing from the endpapers which also contain a glimpse of Fluffykin's rear as he casually exits the scene of the crime.
Why we love it...
We are very much a cat family and we're also huge fans of funny stories, especially if they're interactive like this one. No matter how often we read this book, it always has my kids in stitches, and they always demand an encore. Whenever we see a ginger cat in real life, they point and shout, "FLUFFYKINS!" I know this is going to be one of those special stories that they'll remember from their childhood, and I love finding books like this.
Why you need it...
It's so entertaining! It's ideal for banishing a bad mood or diffusing a tantrum (I find grabbing a humorous book a great distraction when all else fails). It always cheers me up too. I can't imagine anyone not enjoying this book, even if they aren't a fan of felines.
About the author-illustrator:
Nicola O'Byrne was born in Swaziland, grew up in Singapore, and has lived in Papua New Guinea, Kenya, Edinburgh, London and Cambridge. She now lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Sjoerd, and their invisible dog, Chewbacca. When Nicola was five years old, her parents banned Saturday morning television, and she has been drawing ever since. Nicola has a bachelor’s degree in illustration from Edinburgh College of Art and an MA in printmaking from Camberwell College of Art. In her spare time, she enjoys weightlifting and baking.
Bad Cat! was published by Nosy Crow in April 2020 - see this book on the publisher's website