Page 45 Review by Stephen
That is some serious talent in one book and, like most of our best childrens books, I suspect with this will overwhelmingly be bought by adults for adults.
There are several stories Id never encountered in any form, but even those you may be familiar with have been reinterpreted with mischief and wit; even more so than with NURSERY RHYME COMICS where at least the rhyme had to be adhered to.
Vanessa Davis, for example, has totally gone to town with Puss In Boots, taking laugh-out-loud liberties and throwing in hilarious anachronisms while pouring her all into the most exuberant and thrillingly coloured cartooning in the entire album. She has some stiff competition!
Craig Thompson (HABIBI, BLANKETS) adds a dash of eloquence to Azzolinos Story Without End but mostly I just giggled at the sheep. Joseph Lamberts Rabbit Will Not Help, based on a Brer Rabbit story, is not the Tar Baby tale I know but who cares? His art positively bounces across the page! David Mazzucchellis style you wont even recognise from ASTERIOS POLYP or CITY OF GLASS but then hes one of those comparatively rare visual chameleons like Stuart Immonen and Bryan Talbot who adapts each time to suit the substance.
Unmistakeable, however, is Luke Pearsons contribution. Far closer in style to EVERYTHING WE MISS than his Young Adult albums and comics (HILDAFOLK, British Comics Award-winning HILDA AND THE MIDNIGHT GIANT ,and HILDA AND THE BIRD PARADE), The Boy Who Drew Cats is a wit-riddled wonder. Its based on a Japanese tale as told by Lafcadio Hearn (obscure!) and tells of a giant goblin rat which invades a temple, sending the poor priests scurrying and polishing off the greatest warriors in the land in much the same manner that you polish off everything on your plate, Im afraid! The temple is boarded up, imprisoning the ravenous rodent in its lair. Meanwhile a farmer proudly boasts that his boys are hard-working, and indeed they are; just not necessarily at farming. His youngest, for example, likes to draw cats. Hes very good at it: lots and lots of cats marked in the soil with a stick. Understanding that his son has a different calling, the farmer introduces him to a priest in the hope hell take him on as an apprentice.
Do you vow to dedicate the rest of your life to traversing the road to enlightenment?
I like to draw cats.
And draw cats he does, everywhere he goes and on everything he sees even some sacred texts! He likes, quite clearly, drawing cats. Luke paces the story beautifully, eventually interweaving it with the giant, squatting rat, while building its refrain to the most delightful punchline imaginable.
Prediction: there will be a lot of cats drawn in your household by young ones.