cover image Mr. Puffball: Stunt Cat to the Stars

Mr. Puffball: Stunt Cat to the Stars

Constance Lombardo. HarperCollins/Tegen, $12.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-06-232065-0

Mr. Puffball, a determined and optimistic cat from New Jersey, has his eyes set on stardom in this quirky, humorous debut. Although Mr. Puffball doesn’t know much about showbiz, he is certain that his theatrical talent will land him a dream job in Hollywood. He journeys across the country, sending postcards to his mother and eventually settling in with a crew of friendly feline has-beens, whose coaching helps him land his first role (“I play a character named Extra,” he explains excitedly). When Mr. Puffball meets his movie-star hero, El Gato, his life really begins to change. Cat-themed pop culture puns (The Sound of Meowsic, The Great Catsby, Catsablanca) permeate—or is that purrmeate?—the story, as do Lombardo’s scraggly b&w cartoons, which are a big part of its unflagging energy and humor (Mr. Puffball looks a bit like a fame-seeking cousin to Nicole Rubel’s Rotten Ralph). Emotions run high and dramatic moments are many, but Mr. Puffball’s positive attitude and growing understanding that good friends are what matter most light up the pages. Ages 8–12. Agent: Lori Nowicki, Painted Words. (Sept.)