Thursday, May 11, 2017

Catlantis, by Anna Starobinets

Staff review by Chris Saliba

Many, many years ago, cats ruled the mysterious island of Catlantis...

Baguette is a ginger cat who lives in an apartment with his owners, Mama and Papa Petrov. He also has a lady friend, a street cat named Purriana. The two aim to marry, but Purriana has requested that Baguette perform some type of  heroic feat. He counters that he's performed many heroic deeds already. This is not enough for Purriana; she has something specific in mind.

Purriana introduces Baguette to her great-great-grandmother, a cat oracle and member of the Council of Six, a cat governing body. She tells the story of how cats originally lived on the island of Catlantis, until it mysteriously sunk. The elderly Oracle is about to die - she has no nine lives -  and so she asks Baguette to travel back in time to Catlantis and collect the powerful Catlantis flower that grows at catnip gardens. If the Oracle can only smell the Catlantis flower she will have all nine lives restored. And so Baguette goes on a journey back in time to save Purriana's great-great-grandmother.

Russian author Anna Starobinets delights with this clever and inventive tale that plays on all things feline. The story has many twists and turns, involving folklore and magic, with a cast of funny and fascinating characters, both human and feline. The charmingly devilish black cat, Noir, is especially captivating.

A short novel sure to engage and captivate young readers 7-12. (Adult readers will also find themselves chuckling along.)

Catlantis, by Anna Starobinets. Translated by Jane Bugaeva. Illustrated by Andrzej Klimowski. Published by Pushkin Press. ISBN: 9781782691310  RRP: $15.99

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