CM . . .
. Volume XVII Number 13. . . .November 26, 2010
Binky to the Rescue. (A Binky Adventure).
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2010.
64 pp., pbk. & hc., $8.95 (pbk.), $16.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-55453-597-2 (pbk.),
ISBN 978-1-55453-502-6 (hc.).
Grades 1-3 / Ages 6-8.
Review by Gregory Bryan.
His poor simpleminded humans...
Have no idea how serious this is!
They don’t know that he is a space cat...
And that a space cat NEVER leaves a friend behind!
Binky has a new mission now.
He must rescue Ted!
Binky to the Rescue is the second instalment in Ashley Spires’ graphic novel series about a cat named Binky who fancies that he is a brave and gallant space cat protecting the world from domination by aliens. Binky the Space Cat was the first title in the Kids Can Press series. Although I did not find the latest instalment as humorous as the first title in the series, Binky to the Rescue maintains the series’ high standard. The series is fun, easy reading for children with a good sense of the ridiculous who enjoy letting their imaginations run free.
In Binky to the Rescue, Binky falls out of the bathroom window into what he considers to be “outer space”—the yard surrounding the house in which he lives with a human family and his mouse toy, Ted. Unfortunately, Ted also falls through the window, and, although Binky is eventually rescued and carried back inside, Ted is left abandoned outside in the yard. As such, Binky decides to launch a daring rescue. After all, “a space cat NEVER leaves a friend behind!” Binky’s rescue attempts are hampered by his own limitations and the well-meaning efforts of the humans to keep Binky safely inside the house.
As an easy-to-read graphic novel, this is a book that young children will enjoy. The text is clear and concise, and the layout is user-friendly, with the text uncluttered and of a large print size. Many elementary readers will be able to navigate most of the text on their own, with the illustrations filling in for the few unknown words that they encounter.
In my opinion, Binky to the Rescue is not as funny as its predecessor. I was thoroughly entertained and amused by Binky the Space Cat. There were no laugh-out-loud moments for me with the second book. That said, the artwork and story idea are still fresh and cleverly done. The ink and watercolour illustrations again feature an interestingly limited colour palette. Colours are used sparingly against drab or muted backgrounds and grey borders. The colour choices help to emphasise Ted’s forlorn plight and also draw the eye toward features within the illustration that carry the story forward and add details to that story.
Although I believe its predecessor is a better book, there is still much to enjoy in Binky to the Rescue. Children who enjoyed the first of Binky’s adventures will have fun finding out more about the imaginative story protagonist while others will comfortably pick up the storyline even if they have not seen the original series title.
Gregory Bryan is a professor of children’s literature in the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba.
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