Saturday 3 June 2023

The First Cat in Space Ate Pizza

The First Cat in Space Ate Pizza by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Shawn Harris (Scholastic Australia) PB RRP $22.99 ISBN: 9781761298608

Reviewed by Dannielle Viera

Rats from another galaxy are eating the Moon, and everything is going haywire on Earth – the tides are wild, moths have the munchies, and werewolves are waddling around with duck beaks. The military sends a super-intelligent cat to the Moon to deal with the ravenous rodents. On the way to the rats’ base, he teams up with a toenail-clipping robot and the Queen of the Moon. Can this motley trio of heroes dispatch the rats before the Moon is nibbled from existence?

Perfect for children aged eight to twelve, The First Cat in Space Ate Pizza is an action-packed graphic novel with plenty of laugh-out-loud puns. Mac Barnett’s story twists and turns faster than a spaceship shooting through an asteroid belt, ensuring that kids are on the edge of their seat from the first page until the last. Bite-sized text bubbles encourage reluctant readers to launch into the book for the ride of a lifetime.

Colour beams from Shawn Harris’s illustrations, drawing readers’ eyes into their orbit, while a wealth of wacky characters –from the whip-tailed Scourge to the glove-like Zoopers – add to the absurd atmosphere. Hand-drawn panels in varying shapes lift the visual interest of the spreads and help to keep the story zooming along.

A cosmic combination of sci-fi, fantasy and adventure, The First Cat in Space Ate Pizza eclipses other comic books in the market. It is a cheesy slice of heaven for middle-grade readers who enjoy entertaining escapades.

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