The adventures of Catvinkle by Elliot Perlman
Puffin Books, 2018. ISBN 9780143786368
(Age: 8-11) Catvinkle is a self-confident white cat who lives in Amsterdam with her beloved owner, Mr Sabatini. Her pampered life is wonderful but when a stray Dalmatian dog, Ula, is brought back to their home her life changes forever.
At first Catvinkle wants nothing to do with Ula but gradually her opinion changes and they develop a strong friendship. Their adventures involve a card playing llama, other dogs (one who is very frightening), cats and the 'National Kitten Baby-Shoe Dancing Competition'. It all sounds outlandish but the story works well and all the escapades are entertaining and fun.
There are comical scenes where Perlman has fun with words and silly actions. I loved the scene where Ula is pretending to be a famous cat entertainer in a Dalmatian dog costume.
A cat named after the famous physicist Schrodinger comments, 'I've always thought that a cat we can't see can be both a live cat and not a live cat. And 'not a live cat' could mean a live dog.'
There are lots of messages in the story about understanding and accepting others. Elliot uses the obvious mistrust between cats and dogs as well as highlighting the bullying by Grayston the dog who uses fear towards all the other animals. Catvinkle herself, is learning not to be so self-centred and tries to be more thoughtful. Ula challenges Catvinkle's need to be friends with the mean cats, to be brave by standing up to bullies and to choose the friends she wants, even if they are dogs.
Elliot Perlman is a well-known author, twice short-listed for the Miles Franklin award but this is his first book for children.
This is a fun story written for 8 to 11 year olds.