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Bad Cat    by Tracy-Lee McGuinness-Kelly order for
Bad Cat
by Tracy-Lee McGuinness-Kelly
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2003 (2003)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

At first I thought this was going to be a tale of a Macavity type cat, but it's not quite. The small spunky feline is a black sheep - whatever he does gets him into trouble, but it's never intended and it usually has an unexpectedly good outcome. This small black, bow-tied cat has a Chesshire grin and lives 'in a huge, dirty city' that he calls 'the Big Stinky.' The illustrations are childlike but edgy and full of the fascinating sort of detail that I've always enjoyed exploring in picture books with my own children.

We watch as Bad Cat wanders the city, stumbling into one situation after another - he paints a wall, sprays water, picks flowers, drops a banana peel, bounces on a bed ... and always sings songs. People yell 'Hey, you, bad cat! Don't you do that!' and only realize after he's long gone that 'Bad Cat, Bad Cat, you're not as bad as all that!' Bad Cat is a loner and a bit of a rebel (and I'm sure he's attention deficit) but he's also a catalyst who makes good things happen as he jumps from one misadventure into another.

Kids often feel misunderstood by those around them but unable to articulate what really happened - they'll find it very easy to identify with Bad Cat's antics and sheer exuberance ... and it's really true; he's not as bad as all that!

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