Catwad by Jim Benton
Published by Graphix on March 26, 2019. Paperback of 128 pages at $8.99. Intended for ages 8 to 12.
Note: I read an advanced copy so anything may have changed by publication.
The cover: Catwad is the sole figure on this frontpiece. He stands below a green colored title that bears his name, while he stands atop an orange background that lightens as one’s eyes moves down the page. Author Jim Benton’s name is above the title. This summarizes this character completely and serves as a fine introduction for what readers can expect of this character. The illustration is, naturally, by Benton. Overall grade: A
The premise: From the back cover, “Meet Catwad. He’s blue, he’s a bit of a grouch, and his best friend is a dim-witted cat named Blurmp who can see the bright side of anything. From pizza and computers, to love and happiness, this crabby tabby has a funny take on just about everything, and he’s not afraid to share it. It’s all all-new, laugh-out-loud series that will make even the grumpiest of grumblers smile!” This tells potential readers everything they need to know about this book. This is a perfect summary. Overall grade: A
The characters: Catwad is a character that everyone knows, lives with, or works with. He is crabby, wants to be left alone, sitting on his couch, and just would like it quiet. He is continually frustrated, perturbed, annoyed, and maddened by his friend Blurmp. Much of the humor of the book are the reactions Cadwad has to things Blurmp says and does. If parents are concerned they don’t want to have their children read a book that focuses on a grouchy cat, they should have no worries because Blurmp is the exact opposite, whose opinions, comments, and actions would make any level headed individual go crazy, and that’s just what occurs in this book. When the positive cat becomes sick with a cold, Cadwad appears to bring him orange juice: the codger does care for this buddy. They are a terrific pair of opposites. Overall grade: A
The settings: The majority of the tales, of which there are twenty, are set within the house the cats share, with tables, chairs, and beds shown. Occasionally the pair will venture outside, allowing Benton to create grass, the house’s exterior, or weather in action. The settings aren’t extreme nor necessary to the story, as they serve mainly as a backdrop to Blurmp’s antics and Catwad’s reactions. Overall grade: B
The action: The stories are driven by the silly things the cats do. They range from being two-page gags or eight-pagers. This is the perfect length to tell the jokes or milk them. My favorite was “The Cold” which had Catwad accidentally saying something to Blurmp which the cat took incorrectly, ending in a hilarious visual that is also gross-tastic. The pacing of these stories is excellent. Overall grade: A
The artwork: A huge selling point of this book are the visuals. The characters are designed perfectly and when they emote their faces extend wildly. Having the cats be emotionally opposite often in the same panel makes the humor increase substantially. The colors are also bright and glorious, which makes Catwad’s simmering disgust more funny and Blurmp’s positive spin on everything more uplifting. I can foresee fans of this book sitting down and trying to copy their favorite images on paper or their school folders. Overall grade: A+
The letters: I also have to give particular applause to the titles that introduce each story. They are fantastic. They are cartoony, funny, and make me smile just by looking at them. They are also colored perfectly in bright colors. The text that accompanies the stories are created in a wide variety of fonts and sizes, increasing the volume with which they are to be read and making the humor epic. Overall grade: A+
The final line: This will make the intended audience laugh, as well as younger readers fascinated by the visuals and the older sneak a guilty peek at a children’s book, resulting in chuckles, laughter, howls, giggles, and titters. However, I can’t be entirely positive with this review: 128 pages isn’t enough to please readers, because I want more. This book will passed about to create delirious laughter in all who are lucky enough to read it. Recommended. Overall grade: A
To see the cover visit my Instagram account: patrickhayesscifipulse