________________ CM . . . . Volume XIX Number 14. . . .December 7, 2012


Binky Takes Charge. (A Binky Adventure series).

Ashley Spires.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2012.
64 pp., pbk. & hc., $8.95 (pbk.), $16.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-55453-768-6 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-55453-703-7 (hc.).

Grades 2-5 / Ages 7-10.

Review by Alicia Cheng.

**** /4



In accordance with the new diversity program that has begun here at P.U.R.S.T. Command (Pets of the Universe Ready for Space Travel, formerly F.U.R.S.T.), all applicants who display the values and the skills of space cats will be accepted into the space cadet program, regardless of whether or not they are feline. We are all united in the fight against aliens.


And thus begins Binky’s mission of training the next generation of space cadets – Gordon…the new family dog. Binky is understandably upset, especially since the new space kitten is not a kitten! Plus the Feline of the Universe Ready for Space Travel has become Pets of the Universe Ready for Space Travel, which now allows all animals to train and fight against aliens. Lieutenant Binky and Captain Gracie must figure out how to train this new cadet and discover his secrets before the aliens attack!

internal art     Binky devises a plan to train Gordon, but things didn’t go as planned. Gordon has “no coordination, no brains, and no self-control.” He can’t seem to learn anything that Binky tries to teach him. Binky begins to suspect that Gordon may be the enemy! Is he sending coded messages to the aliens? If Gordon is a double agent, Binky and Gracie will need evidence and proof. After a surprising alien attack, Binky discovers that Gordon is not who he seems to be. There is more to him that meets the eyes. Who is Gordon? Is he a spy, or will he be the first non-kitten space cadet?

     Ashley Spires again brings excellent humour into this new Binky Adventure. This fourth instalment in the series is a graphic novel with a simple design and clean line panels, visually appealing with the use of watercolour illustrations. A fresh idea is mixed in with potty humour boys old and young will love! A cat who’s serious about his calling as a lieutenant trainer for PURST, who’s also a bit of a snob against non-feline animals, a dog who may be a double agent, and laugh out loud hilarious moments in the story, all make Binky Takes Charge perfect for reluctant readers, young readers, and older readers who will know that there is a lesson to be learned in this latest adventure. Not to judge a book by a cover, but what’s not to love about Ashley Spires’ new graphic novel?

Highly Recommended.

Alicia Cheng is a Children’s Librarian at the Vancouver Public Library in Vancouver, BC.

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

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