Review: Binky the Space Cat
This is it, this is the moment that Binky has been training for–he has finally been deemed Space Cat Qualified by Felines of the Universe Ready for Space Travel (F.U.R.S.T.). Now he can live up to his true destiny, defending his humans against the scourge of bug…er, alien invasion.
Binky the Space Cat
Ages 7-10, Grades 2-5
Kids Can Press, August 2009, ISBN 978-1-55453-309-1(hc)/978-1-55453-419-7(pb)
64 pages, $16.95(hc)/$7.95(pb)
Spires’ graphic novel is a treat for anyone who’s ever dreamed of the glory of being an astronaut, as well as anyone who has ever loved a cat. Kids will laugh at the silliness of Binky’s quest, knowing that bugs aren’t really aliens, but also knowing that cats can’t resist trying to catch a flying insect. What makes Spires’ silly story work is that she doesn’t forget the little details. For example, is Binky a housecat who never goes outside…or is he living on a space station surrounded by the vacuum of space? Then there are the details about Binky’s astronaut training and his research into the nature of bugs and aliens. All of these little elements, contained in just 64 pages, add up to a believable world as viewed through the eyes of one little cat.
The art in Binky is as adorable as the story. Binky is pleasingly plumb, a rounded triangle of a cat, with a black face and a chubby white body. His ears, which come to a point at the top of his head, are used for comic effect, as is his brow, which is often set in a determined line. Spires’ panels are easy to follow and though they are often rectangular, they are never standardized or run of the mill. They overlap as needed and the borders change to denote past events or future possibilities. The color palette is a comfortably soft gray and white, with just a touch of red and purple at times to highlight elements.
This simple story is a good choice for readers looking to move past the simplicity of the Toon Books and into something a little more challenging, but not so long or difficult as to frustrate them. A few poop and fart jokes make this seem less "girly" and will add to the giggles of readers who are enjoying Binky’s adventures. Hopefully Spires will bring back her cat and his space traveling plans for future comics!
This review is based on a complimentary copy supplied by the publisher. All images copyright © Kids Can Press.
About Snow Wildsmith
Snow Wildsmith is a writer and former teen librarian. She has served on several committees for the American Library Association/Young Adult Library Services Association, including the 2010 Michael L. Printz Award Committee. She reviews graphic novels for Booklist, ICv2's Guide, No Flying No Tights, and Good Comics for Kids and also writes booktalks and creates recommended reading lists for Ebsco's NoveList database. Currently she is working on her first books, a nonfiction series for teens.
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