One Button Benny and the Gigantic Catastrophe
Alan Windram and Chloe Holwill-Hunter
Little Door Books
Young robot Benny returns for a new adventure (hurrah! I hear fans shout) and now the Cool Cat competition is fast approaching so, like all his friends, Benny has to get his moggy Sparky super shiny and sparkly for the big event – having done the wretched washing up, that is.
Disaster strikes though, for the next morning every single one of the cats has disappeared. An exhaustive search of the town reveals only a note on the ground: the cats have all been kidnapped.
This certainly warrants the pressing of Benny’s (only to be used in pukka emergencies) red button assures his mum.
Having duly done the deed, something unexpected happens: Benny’s button opens like a door, disgorging two rolled pieces of paper.
There’s only one thing to do if Benny and his friends are to get their pets back safely and that’s work together following the instructions on the paper
and Trojan Horse style, build an enormous scrap metal cat in which to hide and wait for the return of the alien kidnappers who will surely come and steal this massive cat once they hear about it.
And sure enough they do. Fortunately all this cat-napping has made the aliens sleepy and once back on their own planet they fall fast asleep leaving the rescuers to find their missing moggies.
Things don’t go exactly to plan thereafter but I’ll leave Benny and his friends being chased by the wobbly alien cat stealers and you to get hold of a copy of Alan (author) and Chloe – illustrator’s – wacky tale of teamwork, forgiveness and dish washing to discover what happens subsequently.
Nicola O’Byrne’s feline character Fluffykins may have a cute sounding name but this moggy is anything but cute. Indeed he creates a chain of havoc as he knocks down a vase of flowers, tangles up the knitting, unwinds the loo roll, plays havoc with the venetian blind, leaves a large puddle on the floor and that’s not all.
Now I’m not a cat lover, nor am I familiar with cats’ behaviour, but it appears from his expressions that in his boundary pushing actions, Fluffykins knows exactly what he’s doing despite his owner’s warnings and chiding. On the other hand it might just be playful oblivion. In this story Nicola O’Byrne leaves it open for readers to make up their own minds.
With a text addressed directly at the mischievous moggy and so much white space around the action, this latest offering is certainly something altogether different from her previous books.
Young listeners will probably relish Fluffykins sheer devilment; this ailurophobic reviewer certainly would steer clear of his abode.