by Simon Tofield
We're going to do something a little different this time because, well, to be honest, the idea amuses me. While I am certainly a great lover of cats and comics/cartoons, Simon's Cat vs. The World struck me as something my six-year-old son and nine-year-old daughter would also enjoy. Anyone who knows my son knows he operates in his own amusing, creative universe, and my daughter is a voracious reader who can't believe I'm not blowing through the Harry Potter series just once while she's gone through it three times. (I'm about to start Book 4, at her insistence. Yes, I'm late to the party, as usual.)
So while I can tell you that Simon Tofield's kitty creation is both very funny and full of detail, I wanted to know what my kids had to say.
Jack: “I like the part with the couch because he's like AAAHHH!! with his paw. And the bird box is funny because the bird pops out and the birds are just like Yeah! I like the sticker with the arrow pointing into cat's mouth because it's like the cat is saying, Feed me.”
Grace: “I like the drawing lessons in the back because I like drawing a lot and I like cats. The book is really funny. The Godzilla part was my favorite.”
Jack: “And how could you conquer the Godzilla?”
Grace: “I don't know, it was the shadow of the Godzilla toy. And Simon looked fiercer the dinosaur toy's shadow.”
Jack: “Well, I don't really see how that's conquering it.”
(I think the cat's ongoing war with the hedgehogs is my favorite.)
The included stickers and drawing lessons are also a great inclusion with the full color illustrations. The way Tofield explains his relatively simple way of drawing different animals is something even a semi-inept artist such as myself could handle. My daughter, on the other hand, could practically do it in her sleep. The kids got right to work on their own Simon the Cat artwork:
|Grace's kitty illustrations. The top three were tutorials in the book; the bottom two she did on her own.|
|Jack has the kitten and the birds watching the gnome do a little fishing. The sticker with the cat and the arrow, he stuck on the back of his NintendoDS.|
As far as the original YouTube videos go, I'd never seen them before reading the book, yet somehow my daughter had already caught a few through some of the sites she visits. They are also funny and so very “essence of cat.” I watched a few after reading, and I saw so much of my cats in them.
Simon's Cat vs. The World is one of those books that manages to stay interesting for both parent and child (or just a kitty-loving adult in general), and while I'd say the videos have a certain edge over the book — the sound effects are perfect, for one thing — this internet-cat book does not disappoint.
Full Disclosure: Akashic Books sent me this book. I thank them for the gesture and I will continue to be fair with my reviews.