A warmly funny junior-fiction series about Kitty, a little girl who believes she can be anything she dreams – even a cat. When Kitty arrives on the doorstep of a house full of music-mad felines, their lives are turned upside down as they attempt to teach her how to be human.
Some children hate going to bed. Not Kitty! Kitty falls asleep every night curled up snug as a bug in a bed box. That is, until one spooky night when Kitty’s night-light goes missing and her fear of the dark comes creeping out. The cats, unfamiliar with the concept, try to settle her down but to no avail. In the end, it won’t be a night-light that saves the day.
What could be better that a cuddly teddy bear? How about a real-life grizzly bear! Kitty and the bear spend a fun-filled afternoon together, but it doesn’t take long for Kitty to realise that having a grizzly bear for a playmate may be a little more trouble that she thought.
Teddy’s Bear and Lights Out are the first two books in a new children’s series by Australian author Jess Black. Kitty is not a Cat is a fun, entertaining junior fiction series about a young girl who moves in with a family of stray cats in a rundown old mansion.
In Teddy’s Bear, Kitty’s new family decide to bring home a grizzly bear to keep Kitty company during the winter months. The disgruntled bear wreaks havoc across the house and is quite an unnatural fit in the family dynamic.
In Lights Out, Kitty’s fear of the dark results in the cats coming up with strategies to help her overcome her terror. Many readers will be able to relate to Kitty’s fear of the dark.
“Mr Clean slowly stepped forward. He was a dirty tabby cat, so filthy that nobody — not even Kitty — knew the real colour of his fur under the layers of dirt…Petal and Kitty strained to see what Mr Clean was holding. To Kitty, it looked like it just might be a real teddy bear.”
Humour is littered throughout both stories, as well as heart and hope. The characters form a very dysfunctional family, but Kitty feels most at home when she’s with the cats. Both of these books will teach children the importance of family, self-belief and acceptance, but they’re also incredibly fun and engaging books that young readers will devour.
Visually, the books are a great balance of prose, dialogue and illustrations. The illustrations have been crafted digitally, with a kind of cartoonish feel to them. There’s a lot of orange to make the grey and black artistic elements really pop for the reader. Some of the words or sentences are singled out for illustrations as well — big, loopy, colourful letters that add a nice touch to the story.
“Kitty pulled a face. She wasn’t so sure, but she got back into her bed box anyway. The cats took turns to kiss her goodnight…Left alone in the dark, Kitty squinted around the room fearfully and buried herself under the covers.”
These books are perfect for young readers just starting out in junior fiction. They’re not overly long, and the plots are fairly simplistic, but readers will resonate particularly with the premise of Lights Out, and the illustrations will aid the reader in forging a path through the book. The audience feels like it sways more towards a female readership.
Thank you to the publisher for mailing me a review copy in exchange for an honest review.
Kitty is Not a Cat: Teddy’s Bear & Lights Out
Hachette Book Publishers