Curtis Jobling, Author . S&S $14 (32p) ISBN 978-0-689-84695-3

Jobling, a designer of Nickelodeon's Bob the Builder animated series, drolly accounts for Dr. Frankenstein's first invention, a cat named Nine ("Not because cats have 'nine lives,' but because that's how many cats it took to make him"). The feline fellow doesn't suffer for his unusual appearance, even though he sports a stitched head and mismatched feet. Instead, children and adult playmates reject Nine because he stinks, having been concocted from "A Persian here, a Siamese there... and a very, very, very smelly alley cat." Lonesome Nine asks Dr. Frankenstein to make him a companion and the giggling, purple-haired madman agrees. In whimsical paintings, Jobling pictures Nine as an expressive, smiling patchwork toy, rather than an undead monster; he shows the malodorous outcast in happy anticipation of the doctor's new creation ("A friend! I can't wait!"). The penultimate spread depicts the melancholy proceedings in silhouette after the second pet is revealed: "Frankenstein's dog chas[es] Frankenstein's cat around the castle forever and a day!" Despite the cartoonish story, Nine becomes a sympathetic character. Youngsters may well empathize with his unmet expectations as this jokey parody closes on a dissonant sad note. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 09/24/2001
Release date: 09/01/2001
Paperback - 32 pages - 978-0-340-96996-0
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