Comic Adventures of Boots
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Kitamura may well produce the worst work to share at bedtime (room for a new award here?). A spell with this picture book would leave children hyped up to the ceiling, desperately needing to count the cats-to-the-page (and we're talking dozens), working out why one is called Leonardo and another Botticelli (to say nothing of Pablo and Hokusai). After that, they'd want to go back to the beginning as soon as you'd finished to check on something else they thought they'd noticed. One of the problems is that these cats all have pretty much the same shape yet all have different markings, so you need to keep checking out who's who. They insist upon appearing in long lines along the tops of walls or in zigzags across the page and you have to keep your eye on them because there are mini-narratives in there. Kitamura's cats are so alive, visually and verbally, that readerly relaxation is out of the question. Mostly, they appear in comic book frames, with speech bubbles bursting and bleeding through the perimeters. It's wonderful stuff with that edge of Kitamura wit and language which will keep the adult reader tied in to the text as well as the child. Three stories, loosely connected, in one book. Like the cat said, 'What a performance, Boots!'