Thursday, 4 October 2012

Atticus Claw Breaks the Law, by Jennifer Grey

Best name EVER for a cat: Atticus Grammaticus Cattypus Claw. Genius. And, with a name like that, Atticus is clearly not your normal cat. No siree. Atticus is the world’s greatest cat burglar. Pun intended.

Atticus Claw Breaks the Law is the first in a new series written for 5 - 8 year olds by Jennifer Grey. Atticus, a green-eyed tabby with a red neckerchief and a soft spot for sardines, has been recruited by a gang of vengeful magpies to steal as much jewellery as he can from the humans of Littleton-on-Sea. He’s never worked for birds before and isn’t too sure how trustworthy they are, but thievery is his forte, a job is a job, and besides, they’re paying him in sardines, so how can he refuse?

A lovely little adventure ensues, with the birds and the cats and the humans all getting themselves into and out of various twists. Atticus has always avoided ‘getting involved’, but suddenly finds himself growing quite attached to the family he’s chosen to stay with in Littleton-on-Sea and thus can’t help but start to question his not-so-lawful behaviour. And so, quietly, quietly, the ‘right thing to do’ becomes apparent. Roll on happy ending.

Atticus, even when in his bad boy persona, is very endearing, Grey writing in lots of perfect little cat-like behaviours for him, such as how gets the family to let him out at night: “Meowing pitifully, he poked Inspector Cheddar firmly in the eye with his paw” (pg. 63). There’s adventure, breaking and entering, a treasure hunt, and a big showdown at the end. Grey’s writing is clear and precise, without talking down to her audience, creating both humour and tension. And every other page is decorated with little sketches of a cat, a piece of stolen jewellery, a rooftop skyline, which is a nice little touch. Atticus, far from being a pussy, stands up and takes what’s coming to him yet still manages to come out on top. Purrfect.

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