Cat is a girl. Sushi is a cat. Together, they are a mischievous force that keeps Cat’s single dad on his toes.

When this book opens, Sushi is a recent addition to Cat and her dad’s household. Cat is excited about getting to know her new pet, and spends a lot of time observing Sushi’s behavior. That behavior, to her dad’s dismay, includes hogging the sofa and tearing up curtains, carpets, wallpaper, and the occasional Christmas tree. Still, neither Cat nor her dad is immune to Sushi’s charms, especially when he makes them laugh or shows them a new way to have fun together.

This book is a series of one-to-two-page strips that stand alone, rather than a continuous story. Each one features Sushi, Cat, and usually her dad; very few other characters appear, and none of them for more than a single page. Many of the strips follow Cat, sometimes including captions that relate to her inner monologue. A few of them follow Sushi the same way. His inner monologue is perhaps even more complex than Cat’s, featuring elaborate daydreams and reflections on his past lives—none of which stops him from acting like an ordinary cat.

These comics are geared toward punch lines and silliness rather than deep storytelling. We don’t get much information about the characters: we don’t know Cat’s age, or her dad’s job or name, or how Sushi came to live with them, nor is there any real supporting cast beyond these three. What we do know is that Cat, her dad, and Sushi have a lot of fun together. The affection the two humans feel for one another and their pet comes across well, despite the fact that they are in a near-constant state of bemused distress at Sushi’s antics.

The art really boosts the fun factor in this comic. It’s colorful: Cat has pink hair, Sushi is orange, and both humans wear bright outfits. Even the furnishings and walls of their house are drawn in vibrant fruit-salad shades: guava pink, warm peach, lime green, and so on. The artist does a great job coordinating and balancing the colors so that they never clash, and the resulting pages are pleasant to flip through and look at even without stopping to read them. The characters add to the humor with their expressive faces and elastic, contorting postures.

Sushi cycles through attitudes of laziness, exuberance, and apprehension in a way that will remind many cat owners of their own pets. “Misbehaving cat” is a rich topic to mine for humor, and this comic offers a take that is gentler and less snarky than Garfield or Catwad. Having a kid as a prominent character may also help the story feel relatable to young readers. Hand this to comics fans who are looking for something light and silly.

Cat & Cat, vol. 1: Girl Meets Cat 
By Christophe Cazenove Hervé Richez
Art by Yrgane Ramon
ISBN: 9781545804285
Papercutz, 2020
Publisher Age Rating: 8-12

  • Nic

    | She/Her Youth Services Librarian, Wake County Public Libraries

    Reviewer

    The child of two artists, Nic grew up loving art, reading, and those oh-so-special books that combine the two. Nic got her MLS from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her thesis was on the best shelving scheme for graphic novels in public libraries; the proposal won an Elfreda Chatman Research Award. She spends her free time reading, drawing, blogging, and writing fiction. She is a Youth Services Librarian at the Wake County Public Libraries in Raleigh, NC.

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