________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIII Number 4. . . .September 30, 2016


Fluffy Strikes Back. (A P.U.R.S.T. Adventure).

Ashley Spires.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2016.
72 pp., pbk. & hc., $8.95 (pbk), $17.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-77138-133-8 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-77138-127-7 (hc.).

Grades 2-5 / Ages 7-10.

Review by Harriet Minuk.

*** /4



Fluffy takes his job very seriously. The leader of P.U.R.S.T. has devoted his life to his mission...to keep space pets and the world safe.


Sargeant Fluffy Vandermere is leader of Pets of the Universe Ready for Space Travel or P.U.R.S.T. His job is to “protect the world from alien domination” through his office in the command center at P.U.R.S.T. He is responsible for the planet, humans, and every space pet. Click is his right hand cat, helping Fluffy monitor the highly skilled operatives, oversee every secret operation, and analyze alien intelligence.

     One day, there is word from an informant concerning an impending alien attack– a security breach has occurred at P.U.R.S.T. A swarm of aliens (bees) want to the find the names and locations of every space pet and station in the world. Fluffy heads to the secret bunker, only to discover the aliens have taken hostages. An intricate plan is put into place, and Fluffy springs into action! Brave and responsible, and with the support of his team members, Fluffy smacks the aliens with a swatter, uses sticky fly paper, spray, smoke, and finally his bare fists to eradicate the enemy! After the successful mission, a plan is put into place to protect P.U.R.S.T. from other intruders.

>“No one messes with P.U.R.S.T. Not while Fluffy is in charge.”

     Fluffy Strikes Back is a well-organized graphic novel as the plot flows naturally from one scene to the next within frames manipulated in various sizes and shapes. Even though the plot is relatively basic, with a storyline that revolves around a protagonist, antagonist, and secondary characters, there are some very clever ideas and funny moments in the book.

     The beginning is particularly distinctive, wherein Click is viewed squatting in a sandbox as an elaborate means to enter a hidden passage to the various levels or floors at P.U.R.S.T. This injects some immediate humour, especially for an intended target group who may have experience with a pet and litter/sandbox.

Level one: advanced technical training
Level two: Research and development
Level three: Cadet Training
Level Four: Poop deck
Level five: Executive Command

     The animal images are primarily white and grey, although there is the rare influx of colour which, when applied, is noticeable right away. In particular, the images stand out against the dark grey backdrop through black outlining and shading. For the most part, the facial features of the animals are flat and inexpressive. However, the reader gets the general idea of what is going on through continuous action supplemented with sound effects or onomotopeaia, as well as speech and thought bubbles inherent in cartoons or graphic novels. Voosh! Zippp! Squeep! Swoop! Swoosh! Meor! Bzzzzt! Thwap!

     Readers will definitely connect with Fluffy as he battles to protect P.U.R.S.T. from the aliens and to ensure his fellow cats don’t get all wet!


Harriet Minuk is a librarian at Winnipeg Public Library in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
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