________________ CM . . . . Volume XX Number 9. . . .November 1, 2013


Binky, License to Scratch. (A Binky Adventure).

Ashley Spires.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2013.
64 pp., pbk. & hc., $8.95 (pbk.), $16.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-55453-964-2 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-55453-963-5 (hc.).

Grades 2-5 / Ages 7-10.

Review by Alicia Cheng.

**** /4



With both Binky and Gracie locked up…
Their best chance of escape is Gordie.
He’s the only one who’s seen enough of the building…
To figure a way out.
They will have to get a message to him somehow.
With any luck, Gordon hasn’t come back yet.
Here they come!
Their fate is in Gordon’s paws now.


Binky the Space Cat is back in Ashley Spires’ final installment of the “Binky Adventure” series with his partner in crime, Gracie, and their new recruit, Gordie the dog. It’s no longer aliens they’re worried about, but their humans leaving them at the pet hotel! What if they leave them behind and don’t come back for them? Binky, as always, devises a plan to escape from the pet hotel, which is secretly a vet clinic. He and Gracie are together, but Gordie is with the dogs. How will he let Gordie know? It’s a good thing that Gordie passes by their cages every time the dogs go out for their exercise. Binky manages to pass Gordie a piece of paper with his plan on it. Gordie’s response? Crack the combination code on their cage. But what happens when they finally escape? Especially when something evil is happening?

internal art     In my opinion, this installment, dealing with anxiety over possible loss, felt more serious than the other books in the “Binky Adventure” graphic novel series. Spires brings readers a different side of Binky who is overcome with worry that her humans will abandon her. Binky is more emotional in this book, and readers see a deeper portrayal of Binky beyond her tactics and humour. While I did not have “laugh-out-loud” moments, I enjoyed seeing this side of Binky that I had not previously seen. And, of course, the watercolour illustrations with a limited colour scheme continue to feature in this graphic novel. The use of very little colour helps to draw the reader’s attention to important details in the plotline.

     This easy-to-read graphic novel will continue to be an enjoyment for children who loved the earlier books in the “Binky Adventure” series. The simple panel layout, succinct text, and use of very few colours will ultimately draw many young readers’ attention. A great read for young readers, reluctant readers, and family read-alouds, I highly recommend this new Binky adventure.

Highly Recommended.

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

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