If you have a child in your life between the ages of 5 and 10, chances are you are familiar with Scaredy Squirrel. You’ve probably also read about lovable though egocentric Chester. Thanks to the genius of Mélanie Watt, these picture book heroes have become household names. But have you met Binky?
Binky is a lazy but well intentioned housecat who fears his beloved humans are at risk of being attacked by aliens, so Binky sends away to become a qualified Space Cat. Hilarity ensues. Binky the Space Cat is a warm, funny, and delightful book to share or read alone. It is laid out in a graphic novel style format which is becoming increasingly popular in kids books.
At 64 pages, Binky is longer than the average picture book. There is a fair amount of text, though none of it is overly complex, which makes it a great book for kids who may be slow to pick up a novel and parents who want their child to move on from picture books. Personally, I feel like we push kids out of picture books and into novels too soon. There is a misconception that picture books are childish, simple, or something you grow out of. A great picture book is a sophisticated combination of text and visuals that operate on various levels and engages readers of all ages.
I am quickly becoming Ashley Spires’ biggest cheerleader. I loved her whimsical illustrations for The Red Shoes and Ella’s Umbrellas, but it is in the books that she both writes and illustrates that Spires’ sense of humour really comes through. Spires understands the inner workings of a house cat’s mind. Being the doting owner of a house cat myself, I can relate to unwanted “massages” and the full-on attack mode that comes with fly season. I eagerly await Binky’s second adventure. In the meantime, check out The Penguin and the Cupcake, or Spire’s latest offering, Sharon Jennings C’mere, Boy!
Binky the Space Cat is published by those picture book innovators at Kids Can Press.