Review Blog

Jul 22 2014

Jumblecat by Archie Kimpton

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Ill. by Kate Hindley. Hot Key Books, 2014. ISBN 9781471402784.
(Age: 7-12) Recommended. Billy Slipper is an ordinary boy who finds an unusual pet. Add an extraordinary set of characters reminiscent of a Roald Dahl book, and the adventure begins.
Billy's mother is obsessed with dirt, so she has covered the inside of the house with plastic. His twin sister loves getting him into trouble and his father says nothing just goes to work as a milkman or watches television.
One day, whist escaping the chaos he created with a cheese sandwich by walking on Tumbledown Hill, he rescues a jumbled up, extremely ill mannered talking cat. As Billy can't take the cat home, his mother also hates cats, he seeks help from his next door neighbour and friend, the eccentric and very old Mrs Mandiddee who delights in Billy's new find.
Together they enter the cat in 'The World Fair of Curious Creatures and Strange Animals' in the hope of winning enough money to have the cat rearranged by the vet so it looks normal. Not surprisingly, Jumblecat wins the competition judged by the disturbing Colonel Beauvrille, who is not pleased when Billy refuses to sell it to him.
This is where the real adventure and mayhem begins. Billy's mum does a deal with the Colonel while Billy is out and Jumblecat is taken to Deadham Castle, the Beauvrille family home. It is up to Billy and Mrs Mandiddee to recover Jumblecat with some timely help from Mr Slipper in his milk van. There is some urgency to the rescue bid when they discover the Colonel happens to be a taxidermist.
Returning Jumblecat to normal takes a bit of creative thinking, and what will Mrs Slipper do when they return home?
Madcap adventures and quirky characters, written with vivid description and interspersed with Kate Hindley's illustrations, are sure to attract readers who have enjoyed books by Dahl, and more recently David Walliams.
Sue Keane

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