cover image Katt vs. Dogg

Katt vs. Dogg

James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein, illus. by Anuki López. Little, Brown/Patterson, $13.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-316-41156-1

An anthropomorphic feline katt and canine dogg family immediately clash after arriving at Western Frontier Park for vacation. The characters personify stereotypes associated with their species, most markedly the refined, uppity katt patriarch and the uncouth, cantankerous dogg father. Caustic, patchily comical mutual insults fly freely in both the narrative and speech balloons within López’s wryly exaggerated cartoons, at times growing tedious. When Oscar (a Dogg Scout who has earned 14 badges, “most of them for chewing different things”) and feline Molly (an aspiring actress who idolizes “Kattalie Portman and Katty Purry”) meet while lost in the forest, they declare a temporary truce, and by pooling their instinctive talents and relying on the kindness of wild, ironically civilized animals, manage to elude predators—including the “weaselboar,” one of multiple droll hybrid creatures—and wend their way home. The authors pointedly postpone a conciliatory ending, as Oscar and Molly revert to their inherited animosity before following their consciences and taking a stand against ingrained, senseless hatred. This mash-up of farce, fable, and slapstick ultimately delivers a profound and relevant message. Ages 8–12. [em](Apr.) [/em]