Katie the Catsitter by Colleen AF Venable and Stephanie Yue

Cats and comics is a winning combination. Cat & Cat, The Kitten Construction Company, the Cat Kid Comic Club, and even that craziest of cats, Looshkin, are some of my favourite graphic novels and they’re adored by the kids at my school. Now there is Katie the Catsitter by Colleen AF Venable and Stephanie Yue to bring some kitty joy to your life.

Katie’s friends are excited about summer camp but Katie can’t afford to go so she’ll be stuck at home all summer while her friends have fun. Katie decides to try and save up for camp by doing jobs for people in her building. After a couple of unsuccessful jobs she gets offered the job of looking after Ms. Lang’s cats for a few hours every night. It’s not just one or two cats though, but 217, and these are no ordinary cats. They use the toilet like humans, order stuff online and steal couches from the lady downstairs. Katie becomes suspicious of Ms. Lang and believes that she might be the supervillain, The Mousetress. The more Katie learns about her crimes though, the more she wonders whether The Mousetress might just be a superhero instead. When The Mousetress is captured by the superhero, The Eastern Screech, Ms. Lang’s cats put a plan into action to save her. But they’re going to need Katie’s help.

Katie the Catsitter is a super fun, adorable and hilarious graphic novel that I totally love. When you meet all of Ms. Lang’s cats you’ll wish your cats were this cool. You’ll also wish you had a team of cats, with skills like this, to help you every day and give you snuggles. Life certainly wouldn’t be dull with them around.

Katie is a super relatable character that kids will love. She’s the kid who can’t afford to do everything her friends are doing but works hard to try and achieve her goal. She feels her friend slipping away and becoming a different person, but she makes lots of new feline friends. I love the relationships that Katie has with the adults around her, whether it’s with her mum, Ms. Lang or Mr B. Katie has a positive relationship with each of them. Each of the cats has its own name and personality, as well as a particular set of skills. There’s Miles (laser expert), Jollie (computer hacking), Seamus (Math Genius), DJ Bootie Butler (Mad Beats), and so many more. I love the last few pages of the book where Colleen and Stephanie show us all of the cats, with their name, skill and a little picture of each one. They all look distinctly different which is so cool.

The story flows really naturally and the artwork is fun and full of character. I love the panels of the cats clearing up the apartment after they’ve gone crazy. They are just calmly mending furniture and walls, bringing in groceries to put in the fridge and then freaking out when they turn the vacuum on. I particularly enjoyed the matching panels, near the start of the book, about the last day of school. The kids are jumping for joy and high-fiving in the corridor, while the teachers are doing the same in the teachers’ lounge.

Katie the Catsitter is going to be a huge hit with the kids at my school, especially with fans of Raina Telgemeier, Victoria Jamieson and Shannon Hale. A fun fact I learnt at the end of the book is that the illustrator, Stephanie Yue, was the colourist of Raina Telgemeier’s Smile. Thankfully this is just the first book in the series, with book 2 due in 2022.

I purchased Katie the Catsitter for my school library from Wheelers. It was released in the US earlier this year but is due for release here in NZ with Penguin Books on 30 March 2021.

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