Katt vs. Dogg
By Mary Eisenhart,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Fun tale skewers prejudice and those who profit from it.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Set in an alternate world where felines and canines do a lot of the things humans do in ours, Katt vs. Dogg sneaks in a lot of literary and pop culture references, from Mark Twain to Jimmy Cliff and Sly and the Family Stone. Oscar is a Dogg Scout and knows a lot of useful survival skills. There's a lot of real-life detail about dogs and cats (like why the shape of cats' claws makes it easy for them to climb up trees and really hard to climb down).
Strong messages about friendship, teamwork, kindness, creative thinking, working together -- and trusting your own experiences and knowledge more than the prejudices others are trying to manipulate you into having.
Positive Role Models
Predators and other dangers, including evil weaselboars, work hard to make Oscar and Molly their next meal. Oscar and Molly are believably dog/cat-like -- and also kid-like -- as they foolishly get lost in the woods separately and then decide a truce is their best chance of survival. They start to question things they've always been taught and consider the possibility that different doesn't equal bad. Wiser, kinder animals help the kids in their time of need -- and give up in disgust on adults who'd rather quarrel among themselves than solve actual problems.
Violence & Scariness
Lost in the wilderness, Molly and Oscar dodge assorted predators who want to eat them, sometimes by outsmarting the predators and causing their deaths. Both suffer injuries. Adult katts and doggs fight like cats and dogs, often physically.
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Near-constant butt and bathroom humor, as the various characters make judgmental fun of the other species' habits. For example, the cat litter commercial that advises, "Remember, only doggs pee on trees." Some social anxiety as to whether butt-sniffing is called for. In a courtroom scene, raccoons wail, "The beavers dammed up the darn river again!"
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Katt vs. Dogg is James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein's skilled, hilarious, and relatable variation on the well worn and all too timely theme of uneasy cooperation and budding friendship between sworn enemies. Our two young heroes, Molly the Katt and Oscar the Dogg, are perfectly happy to join their families in insulting each other (especially about hairballs, litter boxes, drool, farts, etc.) until each of them manages to get lost in the woods and they decide a temporary alliance is their best hope. While the kids dodge predators and try to find their way home with the help of kindly woods creatures, entire media empires feed the enmity between their species. There are scary moments and endless references to butts, pee, poop, farts, drool, and the like, which will cause a lot of giggles, but also quite a lot about how adults pass their prejudices on to their unquestioning kids, and the trouble that results.
Where to Read
Based on 3 parent reviews
Fun and easy read aloud
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What's the Story?
On vacation with their respective families, Molly, from Kattsburgh, and Oscar, from Doggsylvania, are caught up in a full-blown KATT VS. DOGG road rage brouhaha that begins with an errant hairball. Retiring to their single-species campsites at Western Frontier Park brings peace and quiet, but then Molly and Oscar both manage to get lost in the woods. There they each have narrow escapes from a mountain lion, stumble across each other, and reluctantly decide their chances of survival are better if they stick together. Assorted woodland creatures help them avoid the ones who want to have them for lunch, and offer other useful assistance. Meanwhile, back in civilization, their families continue to fight like cats and dogs, and a media empire of ferrets and weasels cashes in on fanning the flames.
Is It Any Good?
This is a fun tale of two kids lost in the woods who realize putting aside their species' mutual hatred is their best bet for survival. In Katt vs. Dogg, authors James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein are in top form with their storytelling skills. And they're more than a bit fed up with stupid human (er, feline, canine) tricks.
"Why would you go back there, man?" says a kindly bear who helps the young heroes. "There's nothing on the far shore but haters. Dogg hates katt. Katt hates dogg. And so on and so on and doo bee doo bee doo."
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how the characters in Katt vs. Dogg are different from each other -- and how they use those differences to try to make themselves feel superior. Why do you think they do this instead of trying to understand each other and get along? Have you ever noticed people behaving this way?
Have you ever felt pressured to do or say something you thought was wrong by someone who was important to you? What happened?
Do you know what to do if you find yourself lost in the wilderness? If not, can you work on a plan?
- Authors: James Patterson, Chris Grabenstein
- Illustrator: Anuki Lopez
- Genre: Friendship
- Topics: Adventures, Cats, Dogs, and Mice, Friendship
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: jimmy patterson
- Publication date: April 1, 2019
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 320
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks
- Last updated: April 14, 2019
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Where to Read
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