A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Bad Kitty Camp Daze uses a goofy case of mistaken identity to explore how cats and dogs are different and share a message about appreciating and looking out for one another. The cranky feline star of Nick Bruel's Bad Kitty series gets bonked on the head (many, many times) and starts to think she's a dog, setting up funny scenarios playing off the distinctive traits of dogs and cats. Kitty finds catnip and has a vision of Bastet, the Egyptian goddess and protector of cats.
What's the story?
Kitty's already having a frustrating day when she accidentally bonks her head in BAD KITTY CAMP DAZE. She forgets she's a cat and starts acting like a dog, stressing Puppy out so much that he gets sent to Uncle Murray's dog camp to relax -- and she tags along. Campers play fetch, swim, and go hiking, and Kitty tries to keep up with the canines. Catnip leads to a vision of Bastet, the Egyptian goddess and protector of cats, reminding her who she is: "Say it loud! Say it proud!" When Kitty and Uncle Murray get lost in the woods and come face to face with a bear, only a clawed hunter cat can save them -- and then it takes a pack of sniffing dogs to find them in the woods and lead them home.
Is it any good?
In a time of partisan bickering and political tension, Nick Bruel finds a way to make kids laugh while showing them that it can be "beautiful" when two sides come together and find common ground. Bad Kitty Camp Daze takes a rather convoluted path to set up its mistaken-identity premise, but the story -- and giggles -- pick up once Kitty and Puppy get to camp. Bruel's artwork hums with nonstop energy, and he gives each of the dogs a distinctively funny personality. The fish-out-of-water (or cat-out-of-water?) setup serves up pages of laughs, but kids who pause to take in the "fun facts" spreads will learn a few things along the way (for example, anise can affect dogs like catnip does cats).
As always, Bruel masterfully weaves in substantive messages without dampening the comedy. Uncle Murray is warm and sincere as he tries to bring Kitty and the dogs together. Kids are drawn to this series for the laughs, but they stay because it has heart.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Uncle Murray's message about finding what brings us together in Bad Kitty Camp Daze. Think of someone with whom you don't get along. What do you have in common? How could you look out for each other?
Is it hard to find good things to appreciate about people you don't particularly like?
What did you learn about cats and dogs?
- Author: Nick Bruel
- Illustrator: Nick Bruel
- Genre: Animals
- Topics: Cats, Dogs, and Mice, Friendship, Science and Nature
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
- Publication date: January 2, 2018
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 7 - 10
- Number of pages: 160
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: June 19, 2019
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