CM . . . . Volume XVI Number 9. . . .October 30, 2009.
Binky the Space Cat. (A Binky Adventure).
Toronto, ON: Kid Can Press, 2009.
64 pp., pbk. & hc., $7.95 (pbk.), $16.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-55453-419-7 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-55453-309-1 (hc.).
Grades 2-4 / Ages 7–9.
Review by Gregory Bryan.
Binky loves his humans.
He takes extremely good care of them.
He greets them at the door.
He helps around the house.
He gives them massages.
He sings them to sleep.
And, most importantly, He protects them from aliens!
Ashley Spires’ Binky the Space Cat is the first title in a new graphic novel series from Kids Can Press. If the first title in the series is anything to go by, the “Binky Adventure” series is going to be a lot of fun. Binky is a loving cat with a big imagination and an unfortunate flatulence problem. One day when he is digging around at the bottom of his kitty food bag, Binky finds an advertisement for a kit that promises to transform Binky into an astronaut cat. Binky’s humans have no idea that Binky then develops a secret space cat identity. Neither do the humans understand or appreciate that Binky is protecting them from alien domination.
Spires’ fun story made me laugh out loud on a number of occasions. Binky’s observations about life as a cat are entertaining and enjoyable. For example, Binky makes a list of the things that he knows. Number 3 on the list is: Miniskirts are not meant for everyone. I tend to suspect that, from the perspective of a cat at the feet of humans, this is a rather astute, accurate observation.
Spires’ ink and watercolour illustrations feature the sparing, creative use of colour against the predominantly drab, grey background details and backdrop. It makes for visually interesting artwork that is pleasing to the eye. Each page generally contains from 3-6 panels, with most panels accompanied by a short narrative text box.
The graphic novel format, fun artwork, humorous story, loveable cat and short, simple text make this book seem ideal for many reluctant readers and those young children making early forays into reading on their own. Binky the Space Cat is attractively presented with sturdy, durable binding and a hard cover. It is made to withstand the rigours of multiple reading at the hands of young children developing reading independence. Given the quality of the story and the artwork, parents will also enjoying sharing this book with their children.
I look forward to reading more about Binky from those titles in the “Binky Adventure” series still forthcoming. Ashley Spires’ sense of humour seems bound to keep readers laughing.
Gregory Bryan teaches literacy classes in the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, MB.
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