An adventurous cat learns that the grass is not always greener on the other side in the new graphic novel Brina the Cat, vol. 1: The Gang of the Feline Sun. Written by Giorgio Salati and illustrated by Christian Cornia, this Italian import provides a valuable lesson on family and home, but its entertainment value lacks in places. Readers may find little enjoyment in this feline’s adventures due to its limited story structure and plain artwork.

During a vacation in the mountains, Brina becomes upset when she cannot join her owners outside their rental home and explore. She soon meets a stray cat named Vespucci, who convinces her to run away and join his group of wildcats called the Gang of the Feline Sun. At first, Brina is having a great time doing whatever she wants, but when she notices the gang’s cruelty towards other cats and each other, she realizes that she has made a terrible mistake. In the meantime, her two owners, Margret and Sam, search around town for her, trying not to lose hope that she will return.

Even though the feline’s story does contain drama and a heartwarming ending, it feels a bit rushed. Brina learns her lesson too quickly, cutting her adventure short. A more fleshed out storyline would work better, providing more drama and further insight into the secondary characters that Brina meets along the way. The narration itself jumps from an unknown storyteller to either Brina’s thoughts or Vespucci’s stories. A smart indication of colored cat ears keeps the reader from being lost in the story, but the storyteller’s narration still awkwardly switches from being straightforward to talking directly to the characters. The illustrator’s comic style and bright color palette adds significant details, especially their emotions, to a number of characters, and the landscape and background art works well with significant parts of the story, such as Brina’s tour of the forest and her owners’ search around town. However, there is nothing significant about the style that readers may discover.

Brina’s first graphic novel adventure is an additional purchase for most library collections. Elementary school readers, especially those in 3rd-4th grade, may give this one a try if they are looking for a short read. However, those who are wanting a longer tale with more adventure may want to look elsewhere.

Brina the Cat, vol. 1: The Gang of the Feline Sun
By Giorgio Salati
Art by Christian Cornia
ISBN: 9781545804254
Papercutz, 2020
Publisher Age Rating: 8-12 yrs

  • Gloria

    | She/Her Children's Librarian, Elmont Memorial Library

    Gloria is a full-time children’s librarian at the Elmont Memorial Library in Long Island, New York where she runs a monthly STEAM program, a graphic novel book club, and storytime for preschoolers. During her free time, she is found reading anything and everything from the classics, to poetry, to the newest best seller. Her other interests include writing, online games, exploring new areas in her home state, and spending time with friends, family, and colleagues. She has also written articles and reviews for the website Cosplay, Comics, and Geek Culture in Libraries and on her personal Goodreads page.

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