Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Kat & Mouse (series) by Alex de Campi

I don't remember where I discovered Alex de Campi's Kat & Mouse, but I eagerly devoured the first three volumes after borrowing them from other libraries. And then....nothing. I couldn't find the 4th volume anywhere! So....I bought all four for my library. I thought kids would enjoy the first three as much as I did and crossed my fingers that the fourth would be good.

In the first story, Kat has just moved from the Midwest to the East Coast. Her dad is the new science teacher at an exclusive private school and she's excited about meeting new friends and starting a new school. Unfortunately, the new kids aren't as happy about meeting her. She quickly falls to the bottom of the school dog pile and only makes one friend; Mouse. In addition, someone is blackmailing her dad! Can Kat & Mouse solve the mystery?

The second story is almost all mystery, involving a stolen painting and Mouse's crush on a new teacher.

The third story moves back to friendship and school as Kat and Mouse try to decide what to wear and whether or not they even want to go to the school dance. When they do, several awful things happen.

The fourth story, which I carried home in my hot little hands last night, tidily zips up all the plot lines. But I'm still not satisfied. I want more! Also, the last book felt a little rushed and there were a few things that didn't make any sense to me. For one, what does he mean by "I'm going to divorce my parents"? Running away? Emancipation of a Minor? But I'm still very happy to find out what happened in general.

If you dig around online a little, you'll discover that Alex de Campi originally intended these to be much longer, more teen-focused stories, as well as having many more of them. Here's hoping more will show up some day!

I had a long discussion with myself of where to put these graphic novel "readers". On the one hand, the general plot and artwork does seem to fit into Tokyopop's given 8-12 age range. On the other hand, some of the bullying and plot lines seem a little old for 8 year olds, although there's no romance other than a crush on a teacher. I'd personally recommend them for 11 - 13. So I guess they're going into juvenile and we'll see.

Verdict: These have checked out, not amazingly so, but enough that I'm happy I purchased them. Sadly, they are not really in print. I don't think. They have a weird publishing history.

Kat & Mouse vol. 1 Teacher Torture
ISBN: 978-1598165487; Published July 2006 by Tokyopop (out of print); Borrowed from the library; Purchased for the library

Kat & Mouse vol. 2 Tripped
ISBN: 978-1598165494; Published January 2007 by Tokyopop (out of print); Borrowed from the library; Purchased for the library

Kat & Mouse vol. 3 The Ice Storm
ISBN: 978-1598165500; Published September 2007 by Tokyopop (out of print); Borrowed from the library; Purchased for the library

Kat & Mouse vol. 4 The Knave of Diamonds
ISBN: 978-1427811752; Published September 2009 by Tokyopop (out of print); Borrowed from the library; Purchased for the library


jaiman carrales said...

Hi,my name is Jaiman, I´ve been looking for the kat & mouse books since I first read about them about six, or so years ago. I have the first book and since then it has become kind of a hobbie for me to look for the other books...could it be possible for you to sell them or maybe scan the pages,I don´t know.
if its too much to ask I understand, but please reply. And if you could add in your reply who´s the artful dodger, I would totally appreciate it.


Jennifer said...

I do not own them personally, they belong to the library I work for. I suggest purchasing them used on Amazon, the prices are quite reasonable, rather than illegally scanning and stealing the author's work. You might also ask your local library to inter-library loan them if they don't own them, or if you have a local comic shop they may be able to find used copies for you.