cover image Katie the Catsitter (Katie the Catsitter #1)

Katie the Catsitter (Katie the Catsitter #1)

Colleen AF Venable, illus. by Stephanie Yue. Random House, $20.99 (224p) ISBN 978-1-984895-63-9

Neko Atsume meets The Tick in this laugh-out-loud funny, well-paced series starter from the creators of the Guinea Pig, Pet Shop Private Eye series. Katie Spera, a preteen white New Yorker with a teal streak in her hair, longs to attend summer camp with her friends. Her single mother can’t afford it, though, so Katie takes a job cat-sitting for Madeline Lang, a stylish Black woman who lives in their building. If $30 an hour seems like an excellent rate, Katie is surprised to learn that Ms. Lang has 217 cats. They’re “evil”—tearing the place apart every night, ordering pizzas, and stealing furniture—and they’re capable: each has a specialty, among them computer hacking, lock picking, soap opera expertise, and talent scouting. Meanwhile, as “supervillain” Mousetress strikes city businesses, the city pins its hopes on self-absorbed superhero Eastern Screech. Katie starts to suspect that Ms. Lang may be Mousetress, and realizes that her deeds have a specific target. Venable develops her themes—appearances can be deceiving, no one is all good or bad—while opening the door for further developments down the line. Yue’s expressive cartoons complement this enchanting story, the first in a series with a promising cast of characters—feline and otherwise. Ages 8–12. [em](Jan.) [/em]